A bottle of red wine intended for Napoleon Bonaparte was sold at auction in South Africa. The value of the bottle, which was 200 years old, was about 30 thousand dollars.
The wine from the Grand Constance winery, the oldest in what is now the Republic of South Africa, was highly regarded at the time (it was even mentioned in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility). A large stock of the 1821 vintage was to be shipped to Saint Helena, where Napoleon was exiled in 1815. He was very fond of this wine and drank a bottle a day. However, in May 1821 the former emperor died and the wine was put on general sale.
It is believed that about a dozen bottles from this batch have survived to this day. This particular bottle, sold at the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction, was kept in the collection of South Africa’s Distell. In 2019, the bottle was opened, checked for quality and sealed with a fresh cork. It is reported that the wine is still drinkable. It is a sweet red wine, most likely a blend of fresh and zesty Muscadelle and Pontac grapes.
The bottle was originally planned to sell for between $6,000 and $7,000. It is not known what the buyer, a customer from Christie’s in London, will do with the wine – drink it or resell it at auction again. The last time a wine from this batch was auctioned in 2016, the final value then was just $1,720.
Earlier it was announced that a bottle of Pétrus 2000 wine, which spent 14 months aboard the International Space Station, will be auctioned by Christie’s. It is expected to fetch around $1 million.