Other alcoholic beverages besides wine may be auctioned off at a wine auction. Wine auctions can be divided into two categories: first-hand wine auctions, when wineries sell their own products, and second-hand wine auctions, which are organized by auction houses or other auctioneers to enable wine owners to swap their inventory.
Most of the time, “excellent wines” that are traded at wine auctions are valuable and often made for long aging. Older wines that are no longer first-hand may be sought after by buyers of used goods. In every sort of auction, the auctioneer assesses commission to both bidders and sellers. In this article, dates for some of the most prestigious wine auctions worldwide are highlighted.
1806: In this year, the Wine Auctions at Kloster Eberbach (Eberbach Abbey) was founded. The Verband Deutscher Prädikats und Qualitätsweingüter (VDP), a group of estates from Germany’s wine-producing areas, hosts the Kloster Eberbach auctions in the Hesse region’s Rheingau. The abbey was initially established in 1136 as a Cisterian monastery, and for many years the monks farmed what was effectively the greatest medieval vineyard in Europe at 300 hectares. The Hessian State Wine Domains, which manage the estate today on behalf of the Federal State of Hesse, jointly conduct the auctions with VDP-Rheingau. The Duke of Nassau established the first first-hand auctions in 1806, where the wines are auctioned as fresh vintages that have just been harvested from their original vineyards. These auctions are distinctive in that the vintages being auctioned must first be certified by a committee of commissioners, who then conduct taste tests to establish the classifications the wine must be placed under and the minimum number of bottles the vintner can offer for sale. This is done to maintain a high level of vintage quality. The Kloster Eberbach auctions take place twice a year between September and March.
November 1859: On this month, the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction was first held. The wine sale for charity is the world’s oldest. The Hospices, a hospital and shelter for the needy, were established in 1443 in the center of Burgundy. The annual wine auction is conducted at the Hôtel-Dieu, the oldest structure in the complex, every year on the third Sunday in November. The Hôtel-Dieu is now a museum. Since 1859, wine collectors and enthusiasts from around the world have gathered at the Hospices each year to bid on some of Burgundy’s finest vintages from the numerous domaines that surround Beaune. The Hospices continue the custom of bidding “by candlelight,” where the duration of the bidding is governed by the lighting and extinguishing of a candle. The wine is auctio
ned off by the barrel. The Hospices have raised more than 5 million Euros through its annual charity auction since the worldwide auction house Christie’s took over its management in 2005. These funds are used to maintain the Hospices and support their philanthropic endeavors.
September 8th, 1975: On this day, the Nederburg Auction took place. Every September, this auction is held at the Nedenburg winery in Paarl, South Africa. Since 1975, the auction has been conducted annually. It was modelled after the Kloster Eberbach and Hospices de Beaune auctions. Winemakers and enthusiasts attend to bid on some of the best and finest South African wines, including Nedenburg’s hallmark wine, the Edelkeur. Wine aficionados interested in the then-developing South African wine industry flocked to the auction in droves by 1979 when it became an instant smash. The German Wine Academy’s founder and auctioneer Hans Ambrosi were among the notable guests who helped the Kloster Eberbach auctions gain international recognition in the 1980s. The Nederburg auctions, which celebrated their 40th anniversary this year, brought in record profits for the Nedenburg vineyard and other South African vintners as well as a number of philanthropic organizations like Hope Through Action.
1980: This is the year when 1787 Château Margaux was auctioned at $225,000. Prices were high because people believed Thomas Jefferson owned the bottle because of his etched initials on its glass. One of only four Bordeaux wineries given first-growth rank in the 1855 Classification is Chateau Margaux. Even more recent vintages fetch high prices at auction, though not quite to this extent. Thomas Jefferson loved French wines and is regarded as the country’s most ardent wine enthusiast to date. Despite the fact that Jefferson actually owned this Chateau Margaux bottle, it was the 1787 vintage that made it so desirable when wine trader William Sokolin stumbled upon it in 1985. Four years later, he had it insured for $225,000.
March 24, 1981: On this day, the Napa Valley Vintners Auction started. It is both the biggest and most well-known charity wine auction in the country. The auction is held each June at Meadowood Resort in St. Helena and was first hosted in 1981 by the Napa Valley Vintners Association, a trade organization of Napa Valley vintners committed to promoting viticulture and marketing the best of Napa Valley wines around the world. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 from the Screaming Eagle winery was sold at the Napa Valley Auction in 2000 for a record-breaking $500,000—a price that has not been surpassed since. In the most recent auction, which took place in June of last year, charitable donations totaled $18.7 million, breaking the previous record of $16.6 million. The funds were donated to youth organizations and healthcare providers.
December 5th, 1985: On this day, the 1787 Château Lafite was auctioned at $156,450. The fact that Thomas Jefferson’s initials are etched on the glass of the bottle, like with the 1787 Château Margaux, is what drove the price of this wine. Jefferson reputedly enjoyed Château Lafite, a Bordeaux winery held by the Rothschild family since the 19th century. The Forbes Group (Malcolm Forbes) purchased this particular bottle from Christie’s London office in 1985 for $156,450. According to reports, Jefferson even went to the Bordeaux estate. The majority of the wine’s consumers during production were affluent consumers in Europe.
September 5th, 1999: On this day, 1907 Heidsieck from the shipwreck was first actioned. The most expensive champagne in the entire world is Heidsieck Monopole Gout American 1907. So it is frequently proclaimed. That actually depends on where you get it, though. Yes, it is still available, albeit in extremely little amounts and with very little frequency. If you really want to try it, your best choice is to look in a few specialized stores (a fast search on Google will show you where) or the secondary market. This is the renowned “shipwreck champagne,” and it has an astonishing tale to tell that is even more fascinating than the prices it has brought in. When 24 bottles were offered for sale at the initial London auction in 1999, the price reached $4,000, setting a world record at the time.
June 4th, 2000: On this day, the 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon was auctioned at $500,000. The fact that the Napa winery’s first vintage was in 1992 is what drove the price up. This record-breaking Screaming Eagle Winery sale, which fetched $500,000 at the 2000 Auction Napa Valley, actually took place in the winery’s garden rather than at a European or New York-based auction house. Notably, the wine was only eight years old, not the middle of the 20th century like many wines offered for auction. Even with their relatively recent vintages, Screaming Eagle Winery has a cult following due to the lengthy wait list to join the club and the small production capacity (about 500 cases annually).
September 28th, 2006: On this day, the 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild was auctioned at $310,000. What Determined Price is that the 1945 vintage in Bordeaux was the smallest since 1915 due to a later-than-usual frost in early May; the grapes were also extremely ripe, with alcohol levels reaching 15%. The 1945 vintage of Château Mouton-wine Rothschild’s has an illustrated “V” for victory, commemorating the end of World War II, on each bottle. This wine, made from grapes produced in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France, and likewise sold through Sotheby’s, retained the title of most expensive wine ever sold until the 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti sale in 2018 (mentioned above). The winning wine was substantially larger than a 750mL bottle, being a jeroboam (the equivalent of six wine bottles), but auctioneers estimated its value at over $60,000.
Nov 16th, 2010: On this day, the 1947 Château Cheval Blanc was auctioned at $304,375. The 1947 vintage, one of the winery’s two best, is thought to be the reason why prices rose to that level (the other is 1921). Since 1832, Château Cheval Blanc has been creating wines in the Saint-Émilion region of Bordeaux. The winning bid for an imperial-size bottle at a Christie’s auction in 2010 (equal to eight 750mL bottles) set a world auction record at the time.
29th October, 2010: On this day, the 1869 Château Lafite-Rothschild was auctioned at $232,682. Three bottles of this Bordeaux wine from Château Lafite Rothschild in France were sold at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2010 for a total of $232,682 each, making them the most expensive 750mL bottles of wine ever sold. The fact that the wine was produced before phylloxera (a catastrophic disease that in the late 1800s took many of the region’s wines out of the ground) makes it even more distinctive.
Nov. 2012: In this month, the 2004 Penfolds Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon was auctioned at $168,000. The fact that there are just a dozen bottles and they are packaged in a hand-blown glass ampoule inside a hardwood cabinet is what caused the price to increase. The 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon retail price of $168,000 is notable even if it wasn’t sold at auction. Twelve special bottles of the 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon, which ordinarily sells for $661 without the upscale packaging, were ordered by Penfolds, a winery in Australia’s Barossa Valley. While glass sculptor Nick Mount, metalsmith Hendrik Forster, and glassblower Ray Leake worked on the ampoule, cabinet craftsman Andrew Bartlett crafted the wood cabinet that was included in the retail price. All are employed in South Australia.
May 19th to 21st, 2016: On this day, a private wine collection of Bill Koch’s was sold at an auction for $21.9 million. Prior to the 2019 auction, a Sotheby’s sale that took place in New York in 2016 held the record for the most expensive wine collection ever sold at auction. Owner of the collection and well-known for uncovering fake fine wine was billionaire wine collector Bill Koch. The auction’s overall sales exceeded the $15 million projection and reached $21.9 million, making it another deserving addition to our list of the most expensive wines in the world as of 2022–2023.
October 13th, 2018: On this day, the 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was auctioned at $558,000. What Determined the Price is that his legendary wine was only bottled in 600 bottles in 1945. The elder vines at the vineyard were also harvested for the last time this year before being replaced by newer ones. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, also known as just DRC, is one of Burgundy’s most illustrious vineyards and frequently fetches large bids at auction. But in 2018, Sotheby’s sold a bottle of 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from a private collection for 17 times its anticipated price of $32,000, netting $560,000. Many people think that the record-breaking auction price had an impact on the subsequent sale of a bottle of the same vintage, same wine for $496,000.
December 7th, 2020: On this day, Methuselah from Domaine De la Romanee-Conti was actioned at $978,000. In recent years, expensive white wine has struggled to compete with the reds, as evidenced by the highest-selling bottle of 2020. Six big format six-liter bottles of Methuselah from the renowned Domaine de la Romanée-Conti were sold through Baghera/”Kingdoms” wine’s campaign. Lot 14 was purchased for roughly $978,000 by a Swiss buyer. All of their lots were sold at the auction in December 2020 for an astonishing total of $3.9 million. Kingdoms also fetched $443,000 for six large-format DRC Jeroboam bottles and $1.9 million for a selection of wines from the Enoteca Pinchiorri collection.
March 14th, 2021: This is when a barrel of 2019 Nuits St. Georges was auctioned at $231,000. Acker Wines sponsored a two-day fine wine auction in May 2021 that brought in $10 million. In total, the sale set 201 new world records, including one for the most expensive wine collection as of 2022–2023. The auction started in Hong Kong, a region that is rapidly developing in the fine wine industry. The greatest transaction, nevertheless, occurred at lot 1114, where the residence sold a 216-liter barrel of Comte Liger-Belair Nuits St. Georges from 2019. The barrel was purchased from the Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair vaults for an incredible $230,000. Burgundy, France is home to Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, one of the world’s major wine regions. Many people believe this Domaine to be among the best on earth because the Liger-Belair family has been producing wines in the region for 200 years.
November 6th, 2021: On this day, a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon was auctioned for $1 million. The six-liter bottle of Setting Wines 2019 Glass Slipper Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has been identified as the most expensive wine bottle in the world as of 2022–2023. This Napa Valley wine bottle from California sold for $1 million on its alone, as opposed to a great wine collection. It’s unclear what made this famed Cabernet Sauvignon bottle so exceptional, although it might have been the charity that the sale benefited. The auction’s revenues, which were distributed to charity in November 2021, benefit American chef Emeril Lagasse. The winning bid was made by Don Steiner, who also received the bottle. Nobody is particularly familiar with the man who spent so much on a single bottle of red wine.