A 1945 Burgundy smashed the record at a Sotheby's auction.

Mike Pomranz
October 15, 2018

Whiskey has been grabbing plenty of headlines for its record-breaking auctions as of late. From million dollars bottles of The Macallan Scotch to a 50-year-old Yamazaki that managed to break the Japanese whiskey record by selling for about a third of that price, the collectors’ market has been paying a premium for coveted bottles. But it turns out it isn't just brown spirits having all the fun. Over the weekend, a Sotheby’s auction in New York set a new record for the most expensive wine ever sold.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

A bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti, a red Burgundy from Cote de Nuits, sold for an astounding $558,000. Though Romanee-Conti is a renowned producer to this day, this particular wine is especially coveted because reportedly only 600 bottles were produced in 1945, and the vines were removed and replanted after this vintage. “Rare and wonderful,” Serena Sutcliffe, head of Sotheby’s international wine department, wrote on the auction site. “The best bottles are so concentrated and exotic, with seemingly everlasting power—a wine at peace with itself.”

If half-a-million dollars for a bottle of wine seems surprising, you’re not alone. Sotheby’s presale estimate for the vino put the top of the range at $32,000. The wine sold for 17 times that amount. And the run wasn’t over: Later, a second bottle from the same vintage sold for $496,000. Both bottles easily broke the record for the most expensive standard-sized bottle of wine ever sold—a title previously held by a bottle from Chateau Lafite Rothschild sold for $233,000 in 2010 in Hong Kong. Even more amazingly, these two bottles also broke the record for the most expensive bottle of wine sold of any size, which belonged to a three-liter bottle of 1945 Mouton-Rothschild that sold in New York in 2007 for $310,000, according to Newsweek.

Meanwhile, adding to all the excitement, three magnums of 1937 Romanee-Conti also sold for $310,000 apiece, each also rivaling the price for the most expensive bottle of any size. In all, Quartz suggested that this single auction included the five most expensive bottles of wine ever sold all in one place. Sounds like a fun dinner party waiting to happen.

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