These days, it’s possible to pick up a bottle of Shiraz from the local supermarket for under a fiver. However, if you’re looking for a rare vintage wine or perhaps a bottle of champagne that’s spent a century at the bottom of the ocean, things invariably start to get a little pricier.
Companies like Travelex International Payments UK, which offer international payments for expensive items, list their example products as boats, planes, art and of course, wine – so it’s easy to estimate how much a bottle can set you back. Rare vintages are also considered a substantial investment and collectors will usually seek out wines that they expect to increase in value over time.
Take a look at this guide to some of the most expensive bottles of wine ever valued, to get an idea of what a rare bottle can go for.
Penfolds Grange 1951, Australia – $50,000
Heralded as the most collectable wine in Australia, Penfolds Grange is a product of the both the Shiraz and the Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
In 2004, a bottle was sold for a staggering $50,000 at an Adelaide auction house. Today, the 1951 vintage is highly-sought after by collectors, although it is believed that there are only twenty bottles left in existence.
The winery responsible for producing Penfolds Grange is now under the ownership of the Fosters Group, a subsidiary of British owned SABMiller.
Cheval Blanc 1847, France – $135,125
In 2006, a bottle of this Saint-Emilion wine was bought at auction in the United States for the grand sum of $135,124. Cheval Blanc is one of only four wines to receive the highest classification of wine produced in the region.
The vineyard has something of a dangerous reputation in the wine industry, especially when it comes to the reaction of the management to poor reviews in influential publications. When American wine critic Robert Parker published a negative evaluation of one of the vineyards vintages, he was invited back by the management to partake in another tasting. The story goes that the moment Parker stepped out of the car, he was set upon the vineyard manager’s dog!
Chateau Lafite 1787, France – $156,450
As a producer of the some of the world’s most expensive red wines, it’s no surprise that a bottle from the Chateau Lafite Rothschild vineyard occupies a spot on this list.
The bottle in question, purchased in 1985, was inscribed with the letters THJ and is believed to have been owned by American president Thomas Jefferson, although this theory is discredited by some historians.
One of the largest vineyards in France, Chateau Lafite wines are a profitable investment and cases of the vintage wine can fetch anything more than $10,000 per case. If you’re considering investing your money in wine, why not take a look at our earlier post on this topic?
Chateau Margaux 1787 – $225,000
Perhaps the most expensive bottle of wine to ever be valued, this 1787 was also believed to have been owned by Thomas Jefferson as part of his extensive collection of French wines.
Though the bottle was insured for more than $500,000, it never made it to auction. During a dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, the bottle was smashed by owner William Sokolin and the precious contents soaked up by the dining room carpet.
Read the full story here at the New York Times archives.
Heidesieck Champagne, France – $275,000
When Swedish divers came across the wreck of freighter ship, torpedoed during the First World War, the last thing they expected to find was a supply of rare, vintage champagne – but that’s just what they found. The champagne, in addition to supply of spirits, was on route to Nicholas II of Russia in 1916, when the ship was sunk in the Gulf of Finland.
200 bottles survived the disaster and the freezing water for nearly 100 years. Nowadays, the champagne is sold at auction and at top hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow – where it’s possible to pick up a bottle in the hotel bar for $275,000.
Take a look at this article for more of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world, published by The Telegraph.