How much would you spend for an extravagance you can’t use? If you are a collector of fine wine, the answer may be somewhere in the hundred thousand dollar range or even more. And unlike some other collectible items such as paintings, jewelry and cars, once you open a bottle of wine, its value is instantly gone.

To Have Or To Hold

Top Ten Most Expensive Wine Sales

When it comes to investing in a good bottle of wine, if your goal is to simply enjoy the perfect complement to a gourmet dining experience, you can purchase one of the finest wines on the market today for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a bottle. But if you are looking for something rarer to store in your wine cellar and plan never to use, then an antique bottle of one of the best vintages sold at auction might be just what you are looking for.

Variable To Explore

The price of a collectible bottle of wine can vary a great deal and there are many factors to keep in mind. The age of the wine, the vintage, the vineyard, reviewers’ comments, who owned the bottle in the past, and even the size (experts say that the wine contained in larger bottles tends to keep better than smaller ones) can all affect the selling price. In addition, the rarest bottles can be in high demand, so at auction when the bidding gets going, be prepared for the fact that the prices can get out of hand.

The Top Ten Wine Sales

With so many variables to consider, it makes it difficult to compare one bottle to the next. But here is a brief look at ten of the most noteworthy wine sales that have happened in the past twenty or so years. The prices are adjusted for inflation and also size. It is also worth mentioning that even with the tight economy that exists today, the most serious wine collectors are able to come up with the money to invest in this extravagance.

10) Montrachet 1978

While many collectible bottles of wine are so old that they aren’t actually drinkable anymore, one collection of seven bottles of white wine that was sold by Sotheby’s New York was still as good on the inside as it was on the outside. The lot was of seven Montrachet 1978 bottles from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti that went in a bidding war for an average of $23,929 for each bottle in 2001. When adjusted for today’s prices, this equals $28,500 a piece.

9) Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945

The year 1945 may best be known for marking the end of World War II, but for wine collectors, it is also a banner year for wine, too. In fact, a jeroboam (which is a 5-liter bottle) of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945 was sold in 1997 by Christie’s London to an anonymous bidder for $114,614. When adjusted for today’s prices, this comes out to $150,000. While this is a huge price, keep in mind that this extra large size is equivalent to close to about six and a half regular sized (750 ml) bottles of wine. When divided in this way, it equals a little less than $23,000 for each 750 ml.

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