The Five Most Expensive Red Wine Bottles Ever Sold

There are numerous factors that can influence the price of a bottle of red wine. For example, more interest in the batch of red wine that went into the bottle can increase its price, particularly when said interest is spurred on by some kind of notable event. Likewise, a smaller number of bottles mean more competition between potential buyers, thus resulting in a higher price as well. Due to such factors, the right bottle of red wine can become very precious to connoisseurs, so much so that their value can be measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here are five of the most expensive bottles of red wine ever sold:

5. Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 – $38,420

New World wines can’t claim the same length of winemaking history as their Old World counterparts. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no New World wines that are worthy of admiration. For proof, look no further than the Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 wine, which has the honor of being the single most expensive bottle of Australian wine ever sold at $38,420. This happened in 2004 when a wine collector picked up one of the 20 bottles that are still known to exist in the world.

4. Cheval Blanc 1947 Saint-Emilion – $135,125

Produced in a time that boasted hotter than normal temperatures that made for higher than normal sugar levels, the Cheval Blanc 1947 Saint-Emilion wine is considered by some wine experts to be the finest Cheval Blanc wine of the 20th century. Combined with the fact that no more than a small number of the 110,000+ bottles produced have managed to make it into the present, it is no wonder that a single bottle managed to fetch a price of $135,125 when it was auctioned off in San Francisco in 2006. For those who are curious, this particular batch of wine was blended from equal portions of Cabernet Franc and Merlot to create a rich taste as well as a luxurious sensation.

3. Chateau Lafite 1787 – $156,450

Wine collecting isn’t a hobby that sprung up in modern times. Instead, there have been wine collectors for centuries, as shown by the fact that Thomas Jefferson is associated with a number of bottles of wine that have managed to fetch high prices when sold at auction. In the case of the Chateau Lafite 1787, its supposed one-time ownership by Jefferson is a bit dubious in spite of the “ThJ” that has been etched into the glass. However, that doesn’t seem to have stopped its 1985 buyer, who was willing to pay an astonishing $156,450 for it. With that said, even if the Chateau Lafite 1787 never belonged to Jefferson, its age alone is enough to guarantee it a considerable value.

2. Chateau Margaux 1787 – $225,000

Speaking of which, the Chateau Margaux 1787 is another example of a bottle of red wine that is associated with Thomas Jefferson, though there are fewer doubts about said association in this particular case. Unfortunately, this wine will never be either drunk or bought out by an interested individual because it was knocked over by a very unlucky waiter. At the time, it was valued by some at around $500,000, but since the insurers paid no more than $225,000 for the lost wine, that is the more often-cited figure.

1. Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 – $500,000

With that said, there is actually a red wine that has managed to fetch $500,000 when sold at auction, which would be the Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992. Like its name suggests, this isn’t an Old World wine but rather a New World wine of relatively recent vintage. In part, its value can be attributed to its origins in the Napa Valley, which is one of the best-regarded wine-producing region of the New World. However, it should also be noted that the bottle was sold at an auction for charitable purposes, which presumably contributed much to its soaring value as well. With that said, it is important to note that Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 is a fairly well-known and thus fairly valuable red wine in its own right, so it will be interesting to see whether the price of the remaining bottles will change in the decades to come. Presumably, it will climb higher and higher, but it remains to be seen how high as well as how fast it will climb.


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