World’s most expensive wine: how much would one bottle cost you?

World’s most expensive wine: how much would one bottle cost you?

It is not uncommon to come across a $1,000 bottle of wine every now and then. However, shocking as it may be, such a bottle would probably not even make the top 20 list when it comes to the most expensive wine in the world. Some of the priciest wines are more of collectors’ items and can carry price tags going up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These prices are often the results of quality, rarity, and the fascinating stories behind the bottles.

most expensive wine
Two wine glasses next to green and red grapes. Photo: pixabay.com, @Mix-Company
Source: UGC

What's the most expensive wine in the world, and what makes it so pricey? Here is a look at the ten most unbelievably pricey wines.

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10. 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux - $156,450

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This bottle was reportedly owned by former American President, Thomas Jefferson. However, the debate over the bottle’s authenticity rages on today, more than 30 years since its last auction.

When the bottle was bought by renowned publisher Malcom Forbes, it had the initials ThJ, widely believed to be the initials of Thomas Jefferson. The 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux has been nicknamed ‘The Billionaire’s Vinegar.’

9. Ampoule from Penfolds - $168,000

Penfolds is a world-renowned Australian winery. Unlike pricey wines with rich histories, Ampoule from Penfolds is exorbitantly priced because of its impeccable presentation. Launched in 2012, one bottle costs a whopping $168,000 and comes in a bespoke wooden cabinet.

The cabinet holds a unique glass ampoule with 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. In contrast, an unboxed bottle of the 2004 Block 42 currently retails at an average price of $661.

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8. 1990 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru - $224,000

Michel Bettane, one of the best-known French wine critics, once described this bottle of wine as the ‘difference between good and great.’ Besides its hefty price tag, this bottle is also widely considered one of the best in the world in terms of taste.

The bottle’s rarity and layered subtlety make it worth every penny.

7. Château Margaux 1787 - $225,000

The Château Margaux 1787 is the somewhat strange case of the most expensive bottle of wine never sold. In 1989, a New York merchant known as William Sokolin owned the bottle that reportedly had Thomas Jefferson’s initials.

One day, he took it to a Four Seasons restaurant where one of the waiters accidentally dropped and broke it. The $225,000 price tag comes from the compensation William got from the insurance company after the incident.

6. 1869 Chateau Lafite - $230,000

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In 2010, three bottles of the 1869 Chateau Lafite were sold at a Hong Kong auction for $230,000 apiece, making the bottle one of the priciest ones in the world. The three bottles were bought by a single buyer.

Before the auction, each of these vintage Lafite bottles was estimated to cost about $4,599, which makes the eventual $230,000 all the more impressive.

5. Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck - $275,000

Forget the taste or the rarity associated with pricey wines; every bottle of the Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck is ridiculously priced because of the story behind it. These bottles were lost at sea when the vessel they were being shipped in sunk after an attack by a German submarine.

The shipment of bottles sat at the bottom of the sea for about ten decades, undisturbed and away from the sun’s rays. The wreckage was discovered in 1997, with all 2000 bottles intact.

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The Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck does not have an enjoyable taste, but there is no doubt many people would want to add one to their collection, justifying the rather hefty price tag.

4. 1947 Chateau Cheval-Blanc - $304,375

This wine was made by Chateau Cheval Blanc, one of the most prestigious estates in the world. This 1947 wine is widely considered to be one of the best Bordeaux ever made. During its production year, there were extreme weather conditions.

This meant that production was carried out using somewhat primitive and flawed methods. While one would assume that this resulted in poor quality, the opposite is true. These methods resulted in a product whose taste has never been replicated ever since.

3. 1945 Jeroboam of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild - $310,700

The name Rothschild probably sounds familiar to many wine lovers. This is because it is associated with vineyards belonging to one of the richest families in the world. In 1853, Nathaniel Rothschild bought the estate that houses the vineyards.

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At $310,000, the 1945 Jeroboam of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild is not only one of the best wines of the last century but also one of the priciest. The bottle comes with a characteristic ‘V’ inscribed on the label to represent the Allied Forces’ victory in World War II.

2. Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 - $500,000

Yes, the Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 was sold for a whopping half a million dollars, making it one of the most expensive wines ever. The bottle originated from vineyards in Oakville, California and was sold at an auction in Napa in 2000. Rarity is the primary factor behind the bottle’s hefty price tag.

The Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 is slowly aged in 60% new oak and is bottled unfiltered, giving it a unique taste. The bottle was reportedly purchased by Chase Bailey, a former executive at Cisco Systems.

1. 1945 Domaine De La Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti Grand Cru – $558,000

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It is almost unbeleivable that a $500,000 bottle is still not the priciest in the world. Which wine is the most expensive in the world? In 2018, one bottle of the 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti Grand Cru was sold at a Sotheby’s New York sale for $558,000, effectively making it the world's most expensive wine.

The bottle comes from a 4.5-acre vineyard said to produce the highest quality white and red wines. Additionally, the weather conditions in 1945 were less than favourable, resulting in extremely low production.

Only 600 bottles of the 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti Grand Cru were ever produced. Most have since been bought and consumed.

What are the most expensive wine brands?

Have a look at the world's priciest white and red wines.

Most expensive red wines

Most expensive red wines
Two glasses of red wine and a bunch of grapes on an old wooden table. Photo: pixabay.com, @Alik Fatkhutdinov
Source: Getty Images

Here is a look at the most expensive red wines today.

5. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1990 - $21,216

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This product is made by the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti estate, commonly known in wine circles as DRC. The 1990 production year was extremely favourable, resulting in rich, healthy grapes.

4. Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 - $38,420

Only 20 of these bottles are known to be in existence. In 2004, one of the bottles was bought for $38,420 by a collector in Adelaide, Australia. The Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 is predominantly Shiraz with a small touch of Cabernet Sauvignon.

3. Chateau Lafite 1787 - $156,450

This one also makes it to the list of the most expensive wine bottles in the world. The Chateau Lafite has the initials ThJ inscribed on the label. These are reportedly former president Thomas Jefferson's initials.

2. Chateau Margaux 1787 - $225,000

nnChateau Margaux 1787 is the most expensive bottle of wine that was never sold. Still, the unfortunate incident at a Four Seasons restaurant saw the bottle's owner compensated to a tune of $225,000.

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1. Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 - $500,000

The second most expensive wine overall is also the priciest red wine in the world.

Most expensive white wines

Most expensive white wines
White wine being poured into a glass. Photo: Sam Edwards
Source: Getty Images

Here are the priciest bottles of white wine.

5. Domaine Ramonet Montrachet Grand Cru: $1,257

This Chardonnay wine is produced by the Montrachet of Cote de Beaune estate in France. Besides its alluring taste and aroma of Chardonnay grapes, the wine also contains rich lemon notes and a unique citrus palate.

4. Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: $2,302

This $2,302 wine is produced by the Domaine Coche-Dury winery. Like the number 5, this one is also a Chardonnay wine.

3. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet: $4,810

Montrachet is produced by the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti estate and is widely regarded as one of the best-tasting white wines in the world. The wine is made from high quality Chardonnay grapes and has amazing notes of vanilla, honey, and smoky butterscotch orange peel.

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2. Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet: $5,923

This one comes from the world-famous French Winehouse Anne-Claude LeFlaive. The wine is renowned for its characteristic lemon and hazelnut notes.

1. 1811 Chateau d’Yquem – $117,000

At $117,000, the 1811 Chateau d’Yquem is the most expensive white wine in the world. It is made from Semillon (80%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%), giving it a high residual sugar level.

The wine industry is certainly quite lucrative, with numerous bottles costing thousands of dollars. The rarity and history behind some extremely pricey wines have seen them fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auctions and sales all over the world.

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