World's biggest bottle auctioned

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  • Tuesday 23 November 2004

The world’s largest bottle of wine was sold for US$55,812 (£30,138) at Sotheby’s in New York at the weekend.

sbragia_maximus

Dubbed the ‘Maximus’, the Bordeaux-style bottle of Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (pictured with Beringer winemaster Ed Sbragia) stands nearly as tall as a man and weighs 150lb (68kg) empty.

It was sold to Wine Ventures, a wine and chocolate store in Tenafly, New Jersey.

The bottle’s actual height, confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, is 1.38m, and it holds 130litres, or 173 bottles.

The bottle was made by Kavalier glassmakers in the town of Sazava in the Czech Republic. Serena Sutcliffe MW, head of Sotheby’s wine department, told decanter.com it holds 1200 glasses.

‘We’ve been trying to think what kind of event it could be opened for. It would serve 600 people with a couple of glasses each, so maybe a huge anniversary with hundreds of guests,’ she said.

As for the effect the bottle will have on its contents, while it is well known that wine ages more slowly in large bottles (due to the smaller ratio of wine to air in the neck) Sutcliffe said she could not be sure how the vast size of this bottle would affect the wine.

‘I actually think the magnum (2 bottles) is the ideal size for ageing. Wine is just so comfortable in that size of bottle. In imperials (8 bottles) the wine almost stays static. With this bottle the sheer mass of wine will keep it frozen in time.'

Sutcliffe said she thought a ‘massive’ wine like the Beringer Private Reserve - which she described as 'stunning, with an explosion of flavour' - perfect for large bottle format. 'It's a huge, broad-shouldered wine, a bit like a Texan. As it's so big and loud it should be a good thing that it stays as it is for a while. If it was a Bordeaux it might not develop, but Californians like this are all over you anyway.’

The sale, held by Sotheby’s on York Avenue, made a total of US$3,274,402 (£1,768,177). The sale also saw 6 magnums of 1959 Château Mouton-Rothschild fetch US$44,650 (£24,111). The ‘Maximus’, however, stole the show.

All proceeds from the sale of the bottle went to Share Our Strength, a charity fighting hunger in the US and worldwide.

The bottle was commissioned by American steakhouse Morton’s to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

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