How much money would you spend on a bottle of wine? Most people would probably keep that figure in the double-digits, perhaps inching into the low triple-digits. While some purchase for pleasure and may never open it, some purchase as a fuel for their cars.
For a selected few, wine budgets are much, much larger, some are purchased at auction, through specialty stores, or even paid out by insurance companies, these five bottles are some of the most expensive wines ever sold.
SCREAMING EAGLE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1992 – $500,000
The most expensive bottle of wine ever sold was, ironically, a fairly young wine: the 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon Click To Tweetfrom cult California producer Screaming Eagle, it is actually one of the highest reviewed, not bad for a wine that had only gone to market 5 years earlier. Only 175 cases were produced, even less were produced the following years. The bottles were sold in up to six liters though, so if you bought one, you were set for a good amount of time if you didn’t rush yourself.
However, the price must be discounted as its purchase, since it was a charitable buy at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction for $500,000.
You can actually purchase a standard-sized bottle of this wine for yourself for a mere $14,000 to $17,200, a fraction of what the bidder paid.
Price per glass: $12,500
2. CHÂTEAU CHEVAL BLANC 1947 – $304,375
This wine is unique because it shouldn’t have been as good as it was, but somehow managed to become the wine other spirits wish they could be. Facing weather that was ruining their crops and damaging the wine making process deep in their cellars, it was almost the ruin of Cheval-Blanc. Because no one had mastered refrigerated wine making, quite a few vats ended up with yeast going bad and the fermentation process just stopping resulting in a gross, sugary mess. The vats that survived made one of the best Bordeaux’s in the world according to wine tasters.
For that reason, this famed Saint-Émilion wine was purchased in 2010 by a private collector at a Christie’s auction in Geneva for 192,00 British pounds.
Bottles had previously sold for around $12,000 a bottle but with an ever-diminishing supply, the price started to rise sharply. In 2008, a lucky buyer purchased a case for $146,000. At current prices, that would be a whopping 3.6 million dollars at current market value.
Price per glass: $7609
3. HEIDSIECK 1907 – $275,000
A really old bottle of Champagne? Cool. A really old bottle of Champagne salvaged from a shipwreck? Super cool.
During World War 1, a German U-boat fired upon a Swedish freighter stocked with spirits headed for the court of Tsar Nicholas II. The freighter, named “Jönköping” (try saying that 8 times fast) went down with zero casualties as the German’s in a stunning show of compassion, evacuated the crew before sinking it with a single torpedo. It lay in the Gulf of Finland for 80 years before being raised in 1997. Less than 2,000 bottles were recovered and of those, less than 1,000 were still drinkable. Available at auction and at some of the fanciest hotels, it regularly sells still for $275,000. If you’re interested in trying a similar wine for a much better price, they sell the 1996 version for $120.
Price per glass: $55,000
4. CHÂTEAU LAFITE 1869- $232,692
In 2010, a rare wine from Chateau Lafite was put up by Sotheby’s in China. Part of a 2000 bottle group from Lafite’s cellars, they were among the oldest bottles of wine in the auction. A vintage from 1869, the bottles had only been valued at $8,000 per bottle. Due to a bidding war that astounded even the auctioneers, the bottles were eventually sold for $232,692 each. The kicker is that they were all sold to the same person. The Anonymous Asian bidder paid just under a million dollars for the three bottles. Talk about not learning to share.
Price per glass: $46,000
5. CHÂTEAU MARGAUX 1787: $225,000
Chateau Margaux is still producing wines to this day. They’re known for good, expensive wines and their reputation in the wine industry is one of the best. With the average bottle costing at least $1,500, they’re definitely not something you’d pick up on a whim.
In 1989, wine Merchant William Sokolin suffered the greatest loss the wine industry has seen so far, discovered in 1985, a bottle of 1875 Chateau Margaux Wine that belonged to Thomas Jefferson was discovered behind a wall in a Paris cellar. At a party with the then owners of the Chateau, he went home to show them the crown jewel of his collection that he’d personally valued at $512,000. Making his rounds around the room with this treasure, all was going according to plan when the worst happened, it dropped, the bottle hit the corner of a chair and fell straight to the ground. The old glass held and the bottle itself didn’t shatter. However, two good sized holes did appear and the wine leaked all over the floor.
This famed bottle was technically never sold, Insurance paid him $225,000 for the loss.
Price per glass: $45,000
Credits: V3 United.
Read about the 7 Oldest Wines in the World