The froth in the rare wine auction market shows no signs of abating as the BBC reports yet another record price for a single bottle has been attained. In this case, the wine in question, a single bottle of 1811 Chateau d'Yquem, has broken the record for most expensive bottle of white wine not bought at auction, though the wine is in fact a white dessert wine. The buyer, a French collector by the name of Christian Vanneque, paid 75,000 British pounds ($123,000) for the bottle, which he plans to put on display at his restaurant SIP Sunset Grill in Bali, Indonesia. The bottle came with documents from the Chateau verifying the wine's authenticity, a real concern in today's fine wine market, a market that is facing a growing counterfeiting problem.
1811 has special significance in the wine world. It was a great vintage for Bordeaux, but is also known as the year of the comet. That year, a comet formally known as C/1811 F1 was visible for a record-setting 260 days. This spectacle, along with great harvest all over Europe, created a great marketing opportunity as many producers bottle their wines as comet wines or "Cuvee de Comete," a strong marketing term, indeed, in those more superstitious and mystical times.
This new Guinness-confirmed World Record price smashes the old record, which not surprisingly was also for a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem, though an example from 1787 that fetched $60,000 or 31,402 British pounds at the time. The most money ever spent on a bottle of wine continues to be a bottle of 1869 Chateau Lafite sold at auction in Hong Kong last year. That rare gem cost its anonymous bidder $233,973!