Somebody just spent R8 million on a bottle of wine - and there’s a chance it tastes vile
New York- When the head one of the world’s oldest wine families, Robert Drouhin of the Maison Joseph Drouhin dynasty, puts his personal cellar collection up for auction, the wine world pays attention. This week, Sotheby’s Auction house in New York put up for auction one the finest collections of rare French wine that the world has every seen - breaking sales records one after the other.
The main event however, was a 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti bottle of red wine, selling for a whopping $558 000 US Dollars, becoming the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold.
Wine Master Serena Sutcliffe of Sotheby's said about the auction, “The historical importance is the array of the most stunning vintages from the last century, concentrated on two fabulous estates, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and the Grand Cru holdings of the illustrious Drouhin family.”
The wine is described in the auction catalogue as “Rare and wonderful. The Romanée Conti vineyard was uprooted after the '45 vintage. The best bottles are so concentrated and exotic, with seemingly everlasting power - a wine at peace with itself.”
Wine enthusiasts and historians are interested in this collection for its extraordinary provenance - the pedigree of these bottles is absolutely impeccable. The Drouhin family were the exclusive distributors of the great burgundy house of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in France and Belgium for many years, collecting as they went along.
This fact alone gives wine experts a level of authenticity that has been hard to find in the Rare Wine world since forgery scandals rocked the industry in the early 2000s.
The rise of fake wine and forged labels has been spurred on by the almost unquenchable thirst of wealthy collectors from a prosperous China. At first, Chinese billionaires were dropping cash at auction houses in New York and London, scooping up ancient Chinese artworks. Today, the taste leans toward any article put up for auction that represents the old world of European sophistication.
And if there is anything that shouts European class and style, it is the 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti - one of the very finest burgundy wines ever produced. Originally expected to collect a mere $32 000 per a bottle, the auction room was blown away when the bottle achieved over 17 times the experts' valuation.
The buyer’s name has not been made public, but is believed to be a collector from China.
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The world of wine auctions is thrilling and exciting, where experts and passionate collectors spend thousands and thousands of dollars on rare and excellent wines. However, the Sotheby’s terms of sale are clear - there is no guarantee that the wine will be drinkable. And after 73 years in the bottle, there is no telling what the new owner will find when he or she pops that R8 million cork!
The full auction earned Mr Drouhin over $7,3 million USD, which is a nice little package for his retirement. With R10, 5 billion rands in the bank, he is surely opening up a special bottle for himself tonight!