Most expensive wines in South Africa

If you have a taste for luxury French wines, then expect to pay over R150,000 for some of the most expensive wines the world has to offer.

The world record for most expensive lot of wine sold at auction was broken earlier this month (October 2014), with 114 bottles (750ml) of Burgandy Romanee-Conti wines being sold for $1.6 million (R17.6 million).

This translates to roughly $14,000 (R154,557) a bottle for the vintage haul.

The auction, held in Hong Kong and hosted by Sotheby’s, also saw the sale of 66-magnum (1.5 litre) collection of Henri Jayer wine, which sold for $1.1 million (R12 million), or $16,000 (R176,640) a bottle.

While the wine lot record was broken at the auction, two previous records for individual bottles of wine still stand.

According to the Guinness World Records, the most expensive single bottle of wine sold at auction is a $304,375 (R3.36 million) bottle of 1947 French Cheval-Blanc, sold in 2010.

The most expensive wine ever sold (non-auction), is a $117,000 (R1.3 million) bottle of Chateau d’Yquem (1811), which was sold by The Antique Wine Company, in 2011.

Chateau d'Yquem (1811)
Chateau d’Yquem (1811)

Most expensive wines available

Auctions and rare vintage wines aside, the world’s most expensive wines fetch a heavy sum, though not as much when compared to whisky prices, which can easily retail for tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Wine-Searcher.com, the world’s most expensive wine is the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, which retails for an average price of $13,127 (R144,920) a bottle – not too far short of the price it fetched at auction.

The wine database notes that certain vintages of Romanee-Conti can retail for as much as $51,303 (R566,400) a bottle.

The second most expensive wine is the Henri Jayer brand, with a bottle of Cros Parantouch Premier Cru retailing for an average price of $7,708 (R85,095).

A bottle of this wine can reach up to $15,765 (R174,000), with a magnum 1990 vintage reaching as high as $32,200 (R355,480).

Romanee-Contie wine
Romanee-Contie wine

Top 10 wines by average price (USD)

# Wine Price (750ml bottle)
Max. Price (750ml bottle)
1 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru $13,127 $51,303
2 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru $7,708 $13,725
3 Egon Muller-Scharzhof Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese $7,129 $13,412
4 Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune $5,879 $9,544
5 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru $5,537 $15,270
6 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese $5,395 $14,378
7 Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru $5,046 $13,835
8 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru $4,686 $11,711
9 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin $3,819 $7,562
10 Georges et Henri Jayer Echezeaux Grand Cru $3,372 $15,000

Wine-Searcher bases its listing on the average price of a standard bottle (750ml), counting all available vintages, drawing information from a database of 50,161 price lists, totaling 6,708,894 wine offers.

It’s unsurprising that a majority of the top 50 wines listed by the site are French (43 out of 50) – notably from the Domaine Estate in Burgandy – with other countries making up the other seven spots.

This includes:

  • One USA wine – the Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon (15th) with an average retail price of $2,750 (to a maximum of $13,125);
  • One Portugues wine – Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port (44th) with an average retail price of $1,238 (to a maximum of $10,548); and
  • Five German wines, one of which is listed as the 3rd most expensive – an Egon Muller-Scharzhof, which retails for an average of $7,129 (to a maximum of $13,425 – or a magnum of $21,514).

South African wines

South African wines are listed by the site – though the prices are nowhere near the global competitors.

Two Stellenbosch wines – Vergelegen V Red and the Saxenburg Select Shiraz, are listed as the most expensive wines in the country by average price (only $88 – R972).

The Bouchard Finlayson Tete de Cuvee Galpin Peak Pinot Noir takes the top spot for highest maximum bottle price at $1,561 (R17,200).

Vergelegen V
Vergelegen V

Top 10 South African wines by average price (ZAR)

# Wine Price (750ml bottle)
Max. Price (750ml bottle)
1 Vergelegen V Red R972 R1,755
2 Saxenburg Select Shiraz R972 R2,616
3 The Sadie Family ‘Columella’ Red R938 R2,075
4 Bouchard Finlayson Tete de Cuvee Galpin Peak Pinot Noir R927 R17,233
5 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Natural Sweet Wine R883 R2,230
6 Ernie Els Signature R784 R9,306
7 Anthonij Rupert Cabernet Franc R751 R1,048
8 Raats MR Mvemve Raats de Compostella R751 R1,380
9 The Sadie Family ‘Palladius’ White R729 R2,495
10 Anthonij Rupert Cabernet Sauvignon R696 R972

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