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most expensive wines in the world

Most expensive wines in the world (GB)
plus coûteux vins du monde (F)
mais caro vinhos do mundo (PO)
los vinos más caro del mundo (ES)
i vini più cari del mondo (I)

A complete and up-to-date ranking list for such wines is difficult to obtain, as the market is constantly changing. Very expensive wines are almost without exception produced on the basis of extremely low yields and with the most elaborate methods, often "handmade", often in small quantities of only a few thousand bottles. The term garage wine is also used for these. For a single 0.75 litre bottle of such absolute top-quality wines one has to pay at least 100 to 200, in some cases up to 500 Euros and for older and/or outstanding vintages up to five and not so rarely ten times that amount. Apart from outstanding quality, historical background or famous previous owners are also important for the high value of a wine bottle. This means that there are certainly collectors who do not purchase such wines for the purpose of enjoyment.

Goldbarren (Symbol für teuer) und Weinflaschen

Top Producers & Wineries

Top qualities are usually also characterised by a long shelf life. This means that they do not reach their peak from the time they are marketed, and therefore they are not ready to drink until they have been stored for a long time or matured in bottles. These wines at the age of 10, 20, 30 years and even older can also be expected to be in optimal condition and free from wine defects. The list of the most expensive wines in the world regularly includes crescences from the following producers or wineries:

Record holder & front-runner

For wines before the Second World War, especially those of the 19th century and older, special laws apply, as the historical value also counts here. They are also not always acquired for enjoyment and can be quite inedible. Such special vintages are auctioned off at truly imaginative prices. Naturally, the highest prices are achieved at auctions. For many years the record holder was a Château Lafite-Rothschild 1787, which was sold for $156,450 by Christie's auction house in 1985. The bottle, which came from the estate of the third US president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), went to the US publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990). It came from a mysterious find, the seller was the well-known collector of wine rarities Hardy Rodenstock (1941-2018). In the consequence four wines of it (Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Mouton-Rothschild for $ 500.000) led to several lawsuits and trials.

Finally, the long-standing record was broken. In October 2010, the Sotheby's Hong Kong auction house auctioned three bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1869 for 1.8 million Hong Kong dollars each. The buyer was allegedly a telephone company from Asia, but the name was not disclosed. The three bottles came directly from the cellar of the winery in Pauillac. The most expensive white wine sold in 2011 was a Château d'Yquem of the legendary 1811 vintage from the Antique Wine Company in London for £ 75,000 (€ 85,000). The buyer was the Bali-based sommelier and wine collector Christian Vanneque (*1950) who exhibited the bottle at the opening of his new restaurant "SIP Sunset Grill".

In August 2012 a "Cabernet Sauvignon Kalimna Block 42 Ampoule 2004" from the Australian Penfolds Winery changed hands for € 160,000. The wine is bottled in a special container. This consists of a mouth-blown, cylindrical glass vial, which is placed in a conically shaped glass sculpture, which in turn is placed in a container made of precious jarrah wood. It comes from the vineyard "Kalimna Block 42" with extremely old vines planted as early as 1885. Only 12 units of this exceptional specimen were produced. The buyer was a regular guest of the Tyrolean five star hotel "Jagdhof" in Neustift (Stubaital). The sale was arranged by Matthias Tanzer, the chief sommelier of the vineyard

Ampoule von Penfolds

The most expensive champagne comes from a shipwreck discovered in 2010 (see in detail under the keywords Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin and also Heidsieck Monopole). The Scharzhofberger Trockenbeerenauslese vintage 1999 from the Egon Müller-Scharzhof winery (Mosel wine region), sold in 2011 at the VDP auction in Eberbach monastery, holds the German record. However, the actually most expensive wine does not appear in the various record lists for the most part because it was not a "real" sale, but a charity event at which it was sold. This is the legendary Screaming Eagle Jg 1992 from Napa Valley, which was rated with 99 Parker points. Half a million US dollars was paid for a 6 liter bottle.

Record List White Wines, Red Wines, Champagne

The list in the table makes no claim to completeness. It should be noted that the prices are indicated differently for each source in € (Euro = 1), US$ (US dollar = 1.14), HK$ (Hong Kong dollar = 8.91), AU$ (Australian dollar = 1.60) or £ (pound sterling = 0.88) (the ratios on 9 February 2019 are in brackets). In order to be able to make an exact comparison, one would have to take into account the respective market value of the years of sale. For some bottles there are sometimes considerable price differences in the sources and different currency indications. Nearly all wine bottles listed below have a volume of 0.7 (for very old vintages) or 0.75 litres. The exceptions (*) are Château Cheval Blanc (double magnum with 3 l), Screaming Eagle(Impériale with 6 l) and the Château Mouton-Rothschild(Jeroboam with 4.5 l), which is listed below as the penultimate bottle. A correct ranking is therefore difficult. The wines were sorted in ascending order by price, regardless of their currency:

Winery Country Area/Wine Jg Type Sale Price
Egon Müller-Scharzhof English Trockenbeerenauslese 1999 Wei VDP 2011 € 6.433
Jaboulet-Aîné Fra Hermitage La Chapelle 1961 Red Christie's 2007 £ 10.312
Cathedral of the Romanée-Conti Fra Montrachet (Chardonnay) 1978 Wei Sotheby's 1996 $ 23.929
Massandra Spa Sherry 1775 White Sotheby's 2001 £ 27.867
Penfolds Grange From Shiraz, CS 1951 Red Oddbins 2004 $ 35.767
Château d'Yquem Fra Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc 1784 Wei Christie's 1986 £ 36.000
Cathedral of the Romanée-Conti Fra Romanée-Conti (PN) 1945 Red Field Merall 2007 $ 41.825
Moët et Chandon Fra Dom Pérignon Rosé (PN) 1959 Cha Field Merall 2008 $ 42.350
Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin Fra Pinot noir 1839 Cha Artcurial 2011 $ 46.640
Château d'Yquem Fra Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc 1811 Wei AWC 2011 £ 75.000
Château Mouton-Rothschild Fra CS, CF, Merlot 1945 Red Christie's 1997 $ 114.614
Château Cheval Blanc * Fra CF, Merlot, Cot, CS 1947 Red Christie's 2006 $ 135.125
Château Lafite-Rothschild Fra CS, Merlot, CF 1787 Red Christie's 1985 $ 156.450
Penfolds From Kalimna Block 42 (CS) 2004 Red Tyrol 2012 € 160.000
Heidsieck Monopolies Fra Diamond Blue (PN, Chard) 1907 Cha Moscow 1998 € 224.000
Château Margaux Fra CS, Merlot, CF 1787 Red New York 1989 € 225.000
Château Lafite-Rothschild Fra CS, Merlot, CF 1869 Red Sotheby's 2010 $ 232.692
Château Mouton-Rothschild * Fra CS, CF, Merlot 1945 Red Sotheby's 2007 $ 310.700
Screaming Eagle * USA Cabernet sauvignon 1992 Red Napa Valley 2000 $ 500.000

Curiosities & Anecdotes

William Sokolin (1930-2015) One of the most expensive bottles of wine was broken during a somewhat obscure sales attempt that was never clarified exactly. In 1989, the US wine dealer William Sokolin (1930-2015) organized an exquisite dinner in the New York restaurant "Four Seasons", at which a Château Margaux of the vintage 1787 from the estate of the 3rd US president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) with his initials "Th. J." was to be sold for $ 500,000 by order of the English owner with media impact. About 180 people were invited.

A waiter pushed the bottle off the table, which shattered as shown in the picture. After a second version, Sokolin ran with the bottle in his hand into the tray of a waiter. The bottle had no shrinkage at all, because Château Margaux had allegedly corked the bottle a year before and filled up the shortage with Margaux vintage 1959. An insurance company had to shell out $ 225,000, which was shared by the unknown owner and Sokolin. Whether a buyer would actually have found a buyer at the exorbitantly high price is at least questionable, at any rate there was no offer at the time of the accident. If so, this would most likely have been by far the most expensive wine bottle

There is a special story about two bottles of Château Haut-Brion of the legendary comet vintage 1811 (see in detail there), for which a very high, but never circulated price was paid. See also under oldest wines, as well as a list of special crescences under century wines.

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