Would You Buy? California Cabernet Sells for $350,000 at Charity Auction

It was the most money ever paid for a bottle of wine at auction. And it wasn’t even an old bottle.

By Ethan L. Johns
November 13, 2017

Image: thesettingwines/Instagram

How much would you spend for a killer bottle of wine? Twenty dollars? Maybe fifty for an über-special occasion? How about $350,000? Thought not.

Well, that’s exactly what one well-moneyed bidder paid on November 4th for one (yes, one) 750 mL (yes, 750 mL) bottle of California cabernet.

What was it about this bottle that made it so special?

The wine in question was a rare bottle of 2015 cabernet sauvignon from the Alexander Valley in California, made by The Setting Wines. While The Setting’s standard 2015 Alexander Valley cab was released with a price tag of $85 per bottle, this particularly rare auction item came from a special batch, which was crafted especially for Shep Gordon, the man who made Emeril (and many others) famous.

“This unique wine was crafted for Shep, drawing from inspiration from some of Shep’s favorite Bordeaux Chateaux,” says the description for the auction lot. “It’s 89% Cabernet Sauvignon from volcanic soil in the hills of the Alexander Valley. Prior to tonight, only a personal invitation to Shep’s home or a spot on his special holiday gift list would award such a special bottle.”

The description goes on to reveal the reason why, perhaps, a high-rolling donor would have wanted to shell out over a quarter of a million dollars for the bottle of wine. The winner—along with 9 friends—were promised an invitation to Gordon’s “ultra-private Maui residence, the unofficial party destination of CEOs, A-list celebrities and the Hollywood elite.”

It would be a shame that transportation and accommodations weren’t included in the package, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue to whoever purchased it.

The wine was won at an annual black-tie charity auction in New Orleans called the Carnivale du Vin, which was hosted by OG celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. All proceeds from the event (around $3.5 million) will be used to further the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s mission of supporting youth culinary, nutrition and arts education.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns