Most Expensive Wines of All Time

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of unmodified grape juice. The natural chemical balance of grapes is such that they ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes or other nutrients. Wine making has been around for centuries and wine collections can be worth millions of dollars. At auction one bottle was sold for $160,000, however at a charity event a bottle was sold for $500,000. Below we present the most expensive wines by category of all time.

1. Most Expensive Regular Sized Bottle

Chateau Lafite 1787

– sold at Christie’s London in 1985 for $160,000. This wine bottle was purchased for a private collection and prominently features the initials of Thomas Jefferson etched into the glass. This practice was not unusual in the 18th century when large purchases were made directly from the Chateau.

2. Most Expensive Fortified Wine

A Jeroboam (5 liters) Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945

– Wine enthusiasts consider this selection to be one of the finest of the great vintages of the 20th century. It sold at Christie’s London for $114,614.00 in 1997. Of the 20th century, 1945 is considered to be one of the exceptional vintage years. The buyer of this wine remains anonymous.

3. Most Expensive Lot of Wine Sold At Auction

1775 Sherry from Massandra Collection

– This classic wine sold at Sotheby’s London for $43,500 in 2002. The Massandra winery is located 4 kilometers from Yalta and it is frequently honored as the finest in Russia. The winery’s cellar contains well over a million bottles of both Russian (with the Imperial seal), and Western European wines. The oldest in their collection was the Sherry.

4. Most Expensive Lot Of Wine Sold At Auction

Fifty Cases Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1982

– Fifty cases or six hundred bottles were sold by Christie’s / Zacky’s New York in 1997 for $420,000.

5. Most Expensive White Wine

Chateau d’Yquem 1784

– A bottle of this wine sold for $56,588.00 in 1986 at Christie’s London. As with the Chateau Lafite 1787, this bottle of wine also has the initials of Thomas Jefferson in it.

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6. Most Expensive Dry White Wine

Le Montrachet, DRC 1978

– Seven (7) bottles of this wine sold at a Sotheby’s New York auction for $167,500 or $23,929 a bottle in 2002.

7. Most Expensive Single Bottle of Red Burgandy

Romanée-Conti, DRC 1990

– Six (6) Magnums of this fine wine sold for $69,600, or $5,800 a bottle.

8. Most Expensive Lot Of Burgandy

Methuselah’s of Romanée-Conti, DRC 1985

– Set of seven of these bottles sold in 1996 at Sotheby’s London.

9. Most Expensive American Wine

Screaming Eagle 1994

– Three bottles of this wine sold in 2000 at Christie’s auction for $11,500 or $3,833 a bottle.

10. Most Expensive Bottle of Wine Ever Broken

Chateau Margaux 1787

– During a dinner, this bottle of wine was knocked over by a waiter before it was opened. Fortunately for the owner it was insured and the insurance company paid out $225,000.

11. Most Expensive Wine Ever Sold at a Charity Auction

An Imperial of Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992

– The wine was sold in 2000 at the Napa Valley Wine Auction for $500,000. Chase Bailey, a Cisco Systems executive purchased the bottle, technically making it the highest price ever paid for a bottle of wine. However due to the fact that the bottle was purchased at a charity event, a significant portion of the price must be discounted due to the charitable contribution.


Wine enthusiasts agree that what makes these selections so valuable is their scarcity of quantity. Americans and foreigners alike enjoy collecting old, rare things and wine is no different. The Honus Wagner baseball card is a perfect example. As more and more people drink wine prepare to see the prices of the collectibles skyrocket.

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