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Ever wondered what goes into pricing a bottle of your favorite sherry? Why is it that wine prices range from a shoestring college budget to 6 or more figures at a wine hunter’s auction? or which are the most expensive wines ever sold?

So, here are all the factors that are taken into account when before a price tag is slapped on a wine bottle.

Wine Pricing Factors

Grapes

Much like cars sold at your average Mercedes store, high-quality grapes from more renowned vineyards tend to cost more.

Economics

Like most items sold in the free market, wine prices are affected by the laws of supply and demand.                      

There are shipping, packaging, and marketing prices, as well as government taxes associated with wines.

The rare vintage

Very rarely, as in case of the wine auctions, the opinion of wine critics, the popularity of the vineyard and the bidders’ desire to ravage a bottle by any means possible, tends to make for impressive price tags.

While the costliest of the lot might be out of the average person’s budget, it never hurts to see what’s so special about the unaffordable. Is there something brewing for the top 1%?

Not interested in an expensive wine listing? Be sure to also check out our piece “5 Cheap Wines That You Absolutely Have to Try” for interesting wines that fit in your budget.

Five Most Expensive Wines Ever Sold

1. Chateau Margaux 1787 sold for $225,000

What do you do after penning the Declaration of Independence for the world’s oldest democracy? For Thomas Jefferson, it was something along the lines of buying some good French wine but dying before he could taste it.

Thus, his 1787 bottle of Chateau Margaux was forgotten through the centuries only to resurface again at a black-tie Bordeaux dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City. Manhattan wine merchant William Sokolin bought it.

However you’d think after spending nearly a quarter of a million dollars on it, Mr. Sokolin would at least have a sip. But no, to add to all that is vehemently and repulsively dissatisfying, Mr. Sokolin proceeds to drop our beloved first entry on the list, and shatter his over-priced bottle.

2. Chateau Lafite’s 1869 sold for $230,000

The Rothschild’s had three bottles of Chateau Lafite’s 1869 auctioned at Sotheby’s wine auction in Hong Kong, for about 1.8million HK$ each.

3. Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck sold for $275,000

Having trouble figuring out the perfect cellaring conditions for your homemade wine? Here’s an easy fix, drown them under the ocean.

Around 2000 bottles of Heidsieck champagne were salvaged in 1997 aboard the Jönköping. They were being shipped to Russia aboard this German vessel when the ship was shot down by a German U boat.

Turns out 60 to 65 meters below the Baltic Sea, at a pressure of 6 atmospheres, a temperature of 4°C and the absence of light, for 80 years, are perfect conditions to lend a bottle of exquisite champagne flavor and a hearty price tag.

So next time your veteran neighbor tries to boast of his wartime survival, tell him a bottle of champagne did it better than him, or not.

4. Cheval-Blanc 1947 sold for $304,375

A rare six-liter bottle of 1947 French Cheval-Blanc Bordeaux wine was sold to a private collector in 2010, for $304,375. Setting a world record price for a single bottle, during a sale at Christies, Geneva. It smashed the auction house’s estimated cost of between 150,000-200,000 dollars.

One of the most excellent Bordeaux of all time owes its delicate texture and sweet taste to some legendary grapes. Those grapes grew only between April and October of 1947.

It is also the only known bottle fitting the Imperial format from this St. Emilion wine.

5. Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 sold for $500,000

This wine was barely a decade old before it was auctioned off for half a million dollars in 2000, in a Napa Valley charity auction.

According to Screaming Eagle’s website, “Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry red wine rich in color, tannin, and extract. It expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco.”

Sadly though, the winery makes barely 500 cases a year, and most are sold directly to customers through a mailing list, so average folk like us will have to settle for the regulars.

Would you like to taste the most expensive wines ever sold? What’s the most expensive wine that you have tasted? Let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading! Be sure to also check out other fun wine articles to keep you buzzed like “12 Gift Ideas for True Wine Lovers” or even “Ultimate Guide to Serving Wine Like a Pro (2019)“.

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram and   Pinterest for daily wine content!

We’ll uncork ya later! 🍷

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