Local Bottle of Wine, 1 of Only 4 Ever Produced, Fetches $64,575 at Auction

“This is not a rare bird. It might be the rarest of birds,” a representative from the auction house said in a statement.

How much would you be willing to pay for a good bottle of wine? Twenty five dollars? Two hundred and fifty dollars? Two thousand five hundred dollars? How about $64,575?

That five-figure sum was the price paid for a five-liter bottle of 1969 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon, the top lot in Heritage’s March 22 Fine & Rare Wine Signature Auction. In total, the auction brought in $2,489,183 for the select wines that were offered.

The coveted 1969 Chappellet is one of four of these five-liter bottles that was produced by the Napa Valley winery, and the only one sold to the public. The other three bottles had been reserved for Chappellet family members. (Chappellet was founded in 1967 by Molly and Donn Chappellet and is now operated by a second generation of the family. Phillip Corallo-Titus is Vice President of Winemaking; Ry Richards is winemaker.)

“This is not a rare bird. It might be the rarest of birds,” Heritage’s Senior Director of Fine & Rare Wine, Frank Martell, said in a statement.

The bottle’s previous owner, Napa Valley restaurateur Alex Dierkhising, bought the bottle for $6,000 during the first Napa Valley Wine Auction in 1981.

The 1969 Chappellet vintage performed well at the recent auction, according to Heritage. In addition to the $64,575 for the five-liter bottle, two magnums of the vintage sold for $54,120 and a single bottle sold for $17,220.

Those may sound like high sums to pay for wine, but they are by no means the record. Wines produced by Napa and Sonoma winemakers continue to garner acclaim and be highly sought after by connoisseurs and collectors.

A six-liter bottle of The Setting Wines 2019 Glass Slipper Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon sold for $1 million at a charity auction in New Orleans in 2021. That bottle was produced by Healdsburg winemaker Jesse Katz with grapes sourced from the Glass Slipper Vineyard in Napa’s Coombsville viticultural area.

When it comes to the 1969 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon, whether it will be uncorked by the new owner remains unknown. The only way to find out if the wine still tastes good, is to taste it but that may seem a risky endeavor for such a pricey bottle of red. If it’s been aged under the right conditions, it may very well taste terrific — although “the vast majority (of wines) will be past their prime by year 30 or 40, with a few very special exceptions,” according to Wine Spectator.