The greatest and rarest wines in the world have always been expensive and commanded eye watering sums at auction, or with wine merchants globally.
Since 2010 the record for a bottle of wine was held by an 1869 Chateau Lafite, which sold in Hong Kong for $233,000. However, new boundaries were created recently when a single bottle of 1945 La Romanée Conti sold at a Sotheby’s New York auction for $558,000.
This is a remarkable hammer price considering the upper estimate was a mere $32,000! This particular bottle is one of only 600 that were produced in 1945, just before the vines were pulled up for replanting and originated from the personal collection of one of Burgundies most famous domaines, Maison Joseph Drouhin.
It isn’t just rare gems in the world of wine that are turning heads. Demand for rare spirits has also gone into orbit, in particular whiskies from Scotland and Japan. Of particular note was a 1926 Scotch whisky bottled by Macallan in 1986, that sold in May for £814,081, the highest sum ever paid for a bottle of Scotch whisky at auction. Only 40 bottles were produced and 12 of these (including this bottle) had a label illustrated by Valerio Adami, a celebrated Pop artist famous for co-signing the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover with Peter Blake.
This is an incredible sum of money for one bottle of whiskey. Of course the rarity of only 40 bottles produced and the labelling all play a part. However when one considers a 3 litre bottle of 1945 Mouton Rothschild with a specially designed label fetched a ‘mere’ $310,700 at auction recently, fine wine has a long way to go…
Update – 30 November 2018
The record above has been broken again with a bottle of ‘The Macallan 1926 60 Year Old’ with a unique design, hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon, selling for £1.2m at a Christie’s wine and spirits auction in London on 29 November 2018.