Wine Stellenbosch Grand Constance

Photo: @DanLikesWine / Twitter

This bottle of wine just sold for R420 000 in Stellenbosch – here’s why…

It just had to be Stellenbosch! Imagine checking your bank account after a night out, just to see you dropped about HALF-A-MILLION RAND on a bottle of wine.

Wine Stellenbosch Grand Constance

Photo: @DanLikesWine / Twitter

This weekend, a devoted wine enthusiast splurged almost half-a-million rand on 375ml of Grand Constance – one of the rarest bottles known to man. The 200-year-old treasure – initially sourced in Constantia, Cape Town – will now take pride of place in someone’s cellar. But what exactly makes it worthy of the R420 000 price tag acquired in Stellenbosch?

Stellenbosch wine Grand Constance
The Grand Constance made (even more) history on Saturday, after it was sold to the highest bidder – Photo: Mike Ratcliffe

The method behind the madness: Here’s why one punter just paid R420 000 for a bottle of wine…

Nederburg MD and CFRWA director Niël Groenewald set the scene nicely for us beforehand. Ahead of the rare wine auction, he explained that the bottle presented a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity‘ for the die-hard vino enthusiasts.

“A treasure of this calibre presents itself perhaps once in a lifetime, and anyone lucky enough to secure this wine at auction will be rewarded with an unbelievably valuable piece of wine history.” | Niël Groenewald

The Grand Constance was a big hit amongst some of the most important people who ever lived – and it was a desired commodity for the French ruling classes. Everyone from Napoleon to Marie Antoinette is believed to have sampled this blend over the years – and it has a history as rich as its centuries-old composition:

The History of the Grand Constance Wine

  • – The bottle of Grand Constance, first corked in 1821, was valued at R80 000 pre-auction. And boy, does it have a backstory…
  • – Believed to be a favourite tipple of Napoleon Bonaparte himself, only a dozen of the bottles are still in existence.
  • – It’s said he ‘drank a bottle of Constantia daily’ while in exile on St Helena, reportedly requesting a glass on his deathbed
  • – The Constantia blend, native to Cape Town, has also allegedly been collected by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
  • – Three bottles of Grand Constance 1821 (including this one) have been stored in the Tabernacle at Distell’s Adam Tas production facility ever since. The bottle, such a rarity, has also been dubbed as a ‘unicorn wine’ by its guardians in Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch auction sets pulsed racing

Luckily, the exhilarating moment this bottle went under the hammer was captured on film: A stunned silence sweeps across the audience, as the auctioneer dramatically sets the stage. After fending off a bid of R410 000, the bidder held their nerve and went just a little bit higher, reaching the record-breaking figure without any further challenges.