wine storesThere’s no doubt that Americans love wine; with over 329 million cases sold in 2013, we’re the largest wine consuming nation in the world! While many of us struggle to drop more than $20 on a bottle at our local wine stores, there is a long and storied history of those rare few who have spent the equivalent of an entire house (or several) on a single bottle. Let’s take a look at these costly types of wine!

  1. Chateau Lafite, 1787 – $156,450: We’ll admit, this one’s a little more than just really old, really good wine — it was owned by Thomas Jefferson. Apparently, the third president of the U.S. was an oenophile, a connoisseur of wines, and took frequent trips out to Bordeaux and Burgundy during his time as the ambassador to France. The initials he etched into the bottle are the reason this wine fetched so much (roughly $26,075 per glass).
  2. Jeroboam of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, – $310,700: It looks like we’re going out of order, but we’re not! This red was sold in a large bottle, not the standard 750 ml we’re used to. Although Mouton-Rothschild is considered one of the world’s greatest clarets (a.k.a. from the Bordeaux region) and 1945 one of the very best vintages of the 20th Century, the price per glass of this wine is only $8,631.
  3. Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 1941 – $24,675: This cab is the most expensive American wine ever sold. Inglenook is now known as Rubicon and is owned by direct-producer Francis Ford Coppola, who loves to point out that it “had just finished fermentation at the time of Pearl Harbor.” The price per glass for such a historic wine is $4,113.
  4. Château Margaux 1787, – $225,000: Another of the fabled Jefferson wines (maybe), this one is lower on the list because it didn’t technically sell; in 1989, the bottle collided with a tray at a wine dinner. The staggering number came from the insurance payout — he tried to get $500,000 by claiming it was owned by Jefferson but was unsuccessful, putting this wine at $37,500 per glass.

Although you won’t be able to find these bottles at any wine stores near you (we’re assuming the owners keep them under lock and key, maybe with guard dogs constantly on duty), there are plenty of other wine and spirits that taste just as good without requiring a loan or your firstborn child. Take a trip to some of your local wine stores and choose the alcoholic beverage that makes you feel most like a king — or a president!