Which wines are the most expensive in the world and does being ‘the most expensive’ make them a good investment wine? As with all investments it all depends at what price you buy, that there is sufficient demand to support an active secondary market and sustained growth in value and that you exit ideally at the right time to optimise profit from your wine investment. With that said we will take a look at the top five most expensive wines currently on record in 2019.
Top 5 Most Expensive Wines
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Romanee-Conti 1945 – US$558,000
Burgundy’s most powerful fine wine brand, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti has repeatedly set world records at auctions. The current most expensive wine in the world is a bottle (1 x 75cl) of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Romanee-Conti 1945 sold at auction in October 2018 for US$558,000 (£424,000 at the time). A second bottle was sold at the same auction for US$496,000 (£377,000).
This fine wine has incredibly low production levels, with an average of 6,000 cases per annum across the DRC estate to satisfy global demand has helped to drive prices of older vintages to record-breaking levels and established DRC as Burgundy’s leading brand and the most expensive wine in the world.
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 – US$500,000
A 6-litre bottle of the iconic Screaming Eagle 1992 was sold at the Napa Valley auction in 2000 for US$500,000. One of, if not the most iconic Cult Californian fine wines, Screaming Eagle production is very low with a wait list for every new vintage ensuring that it remains some of the most expensive alcohol on the planet!
Chateau Cheval Blanc 1947 – £192,000 (6-litre bottle)
One of the original two St Emilion Grand Cru Classe A estates, Chateau Cheval Blanc is owned by brand goliath, LVMH which is also the proprietor of Sauternes’ leading estate, Chateau d’Yquem. A 12 x 75cl case of the same legendary 1947 vintage sold for £168,000 in 2017, establishing it as Bordeaux’s most expensive fine wine on record to date.
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 – £163,000
Lafite-Rothschild is rated by Liv-ex as the most powerful fine wine brand in the world in terms of the volume and average price of the famous Chateau’s wines sold on the exchange. The spike in demand for Bordeaux wines during 2009 – 2010 was led by new consumers from China with their focus primarily on the Bordeaux First Growths and in particular Chateau Lafite-Rothschild.
Champagne, Heidsieck 1907 – £189,750
One of the most expensive Champagne sales ever recorded was from a consignment of Heidsieck 1907 rescued in 1998 from a ship which was torpedoed during WW1, which achieved £189,750 at auction.
An online publication ranked the ten most expensive Champagnes in 2019 earlier this year and the top five of these featured a bottle which may have been described as ‘all style and no substance’ as the 18-carat gold embellished label adorned with a 19 carat diamond raised the overall value to US$2.07M, from US$299 for a standard bottle. Wines made by Armand de Brignac, owned by probably the world’s most famous rap artist, Jay Z made the ranking. A 30-litre (40 bottles) of their 2013 Rose sold for US$275,000 and a 15 litre 2011 for US$90,000.
In terms of Champagne more recognised for investment purposes, Dom Perignon Rose 1996 (30-litre Midas) led the way. Only 35 of these were produced and should you be lucky enough to get hold of one you can expect to hand over US$49,000.
These wines are the record-breakers that attract media attention worldwide. When it comes to your wine investment you don’t have to invest six or even five figure sums to see good returns from investing in fine wine and a portfolio can be started with a case of a blue-chip Bordeaux such as Chateau Lafite Rothschild for as little as circa £3,000.
As a stable, tangible asset fine wine investment generally provides good long-term growth that can outperform equities and gold, diversify portfolios, reduce risk and provide the opportunity for good returns which do not normally attract Capital Gains Tax, subject to personal circumstances.