Today Acker Merrall & Condit Set Another World Record with Ancient Shipwrecked Champagne

Acker Merrall & Condit, the world’s premier wine auction house, announced today that it surpassed the world auction record for a bottle of Champagne, selling a bottle of shipwrecked Veuve Clicquot for $43,630. The landmark sale took place today in Mariehamn, Åland, where Acker Merrall auctioned two of the world’s oldest bottles of Champagne salvaged last year from a 19th century shipwreck off the Åland Islands, along with 15 special lots direct from Veuve Cliquot’s cellars.

In a most exciting climax, an anonymous internet bidder from Singapore outdueled an American phone bidder, Robert A. Rosania, legendary Champagne collector and American real estate entrepreneur. When asked about the epic battle for both lots of shipwrecked Champagne, Rosania commented, “I’ll be back.” Ironically, Rosania held the previous record set in 2008, that time as a seller, when bottles of 1959 Dom Perignon from his collection sold for $42,350 each.

“We are overjoyed by today’s outcome,” said John Kapon, CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit. “We felt privileged to work with the Government of Åland and Veuve Clicquot to produce this unprecedented sale. Today proved to be one of the most historic and exhilarating events in the world of wine. To have America and Asia battling it out here in Europe, setting a new world record, is a testament to the globalization of the fine wine market, and this is only the beginning. What was equally amazing was the fact that the sale took place in Aland, an incredibly beautiful yet remote region of the world. It just goes to show that the most discerning and passionate collectors will go wherever it takes to acquire the world’s greatest wines.”

“This sends out a strong message that the oldest and rarest drinkable champagne is sold in Åland. We are also happy that the financial surplus that is generated by the sale of the Champagne bottles will go to charitable causes, such as environmental measures for improving the quality of water in the seas,” said departmental head Rainer Juslin of the Åland Government.

Acker Merrall’s next and final auction of the season will be held in the Hamptons in New York on June 25th.

Shipwreck Champagne sold for record $78k to anonymous bidder

An anonymous Internet bidder has paid $78,200 (54,000 euros) for two bottles of 200-year-old Champagne salvaged from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The buyer, reportedly from Singapore, paid a world-record price of 30,000 euro for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and 24,000 euro for a bottle of Juglar.

The bottles were part of a cache found aboard a two-masted schooner that ran aground between 1825 and 1830 and that Finnish divers stumbled upon last July. They are believed to be the oldest preserved examples of their respective brands.

Wine experts who studied the corks and hand-blown bottles said the wines were produced between 1811 and 1831.

“Most likely they’re older than that, because in those days they kept wine stored for 10 to 12 years in barrels before they shipped it,” said Christian Erikson, the diver who discovered the cache.

Salvaging the bottles — among a batch of about 150 which were preserved in ideal conditions at the bottom of the Baltic Sea and include Heidsieck Champagne — began in August.

The batch was auctioned in in Aland, an autonomous province of Finland, which owns the Champagne.

The buyer’s identity was not revealed, according to the Associated Press.

“Today proved to be one of the most historic and exhilarating events in the world of wine,” said John Kapon, CEO of the New York auction house Acker Merrall & Condit, which conducted the sale, according to a report in the Toronto Sun. “To have America and Asia battling it out here in Europe, setting a new world record, is a testament to the globalization of the fine wine market, and this is only the beginning.”

Reims Cathedral Celebrates Its 800th Anniversary This Year

Both the United States and the Champagne Region Share History.

The Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims, historic coronation site for French kings located in the Champagen region of France, celebrates its 800th anniversary this year.

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, the Reims Cathedral welcomed generations of French monarchs and nobility. Wines from the Champagne region were historically served at the royal banquets that accompanied coronations, contributing to Champagne’s reputation as a luxurious beverage.

To mark the cathedral’s 800th anniversary, Champagne houses and wineries have committed to restoring statuary located around the façade. The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), a trade association that represents the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France, has been a long-standing supporter of efforts to restore the cathedral.

“The Reims Cathedral is a stunning showcase of the Champagne region’s history and beauty,” said Sam Heitner, director of the Champagne Bureau, the U.S. representative of the CIVC. “Just as the Champagne region has a long history of working together to ensure quality, so too have they joined forces to protect this masterpiece of Gothic architecture.”

The latest restoration is another in the ongoing series of projects undertaken to address significant damage sustained by the cathedral during World War I, many of which have been financed by supporters from the United States and the Champagne region.

Beginning in 1919, the Rockefellers, an American philanthropic family, funded a series of projects at the Reims Cathedral to restore the roof, Angel bell tower and grand fleur de lis. These efforts were integral to both the restoration of the world-famous cathedral and to attracting other long-term donors. Over the past decades, the CIVC has funded numerous restoration projects, including new stained glass windows and restoration of the chime, astronomical clock and neo-Gothic chandeliers.

The town of Reims has planned a series of celebrations through mid-October of this year to celebrate the cathedral, including concerts, exhibitions and a spectacular daily light show. For more information, please visit


Remy Cointreau Sells Champagne Firm To EPI

Remy Cointreau has sold the entire share capital of Piper-Heidsieck to EPI.

The luxury brand of Champagne’s turnover was 103.6 million euro in the year up to March 31, 2011, which was an increase of 7.2%.

On top of the full payment of the debt owed to the Remy Cointreau Group by the companies sold – around 240 million euro – the French majestic liquor firm will receive a purchase price for the shares amounting to 146.3 million euro, with an immediate payment of 71.3 million euro.

Drinkshop favourite Remy Cointreau has granted a seller’s loan for a period of nine years for the portion of the shares not covered by the immediate payment.

EPI and Remy Cointreau have also signed a global distribution deal for the Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck brands as well as for Piper Sonoma in the US.

Rémy Cointreau chief executive Jean-Marie Laborde said: “The sale is entirely consistent with the acceleration of our value strategy, which focuses on our international liqueurs and spirits brands and businesses. The proceeds of the sale will enable us to fund our development in major markets of today as well as in markets with strong potential for future growth.

“I am obviously very pleased that both our groups, Rémy Cointreau and EPI, wish to develop an efficient and productive distribution partnership.”