Knowledge Wine

Auction hammer falls as Wine sells for a Half Milllion

Image: Sotheby’s


By the time the hammer fell at Sotheby’s Auction house in New York last October, the World’s most expensive bottle had sold for a record breaking $558,000.00 Dollars! Who exactly was this lucky bottle to gain so much attention, let alone, cash? Well, here is what they are saying about this very distinctive bottle:

Romanée Conti 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
Côte de Nuits, Grand Cru
Lot 84: u. 4.5cm, heavily damp-stained, scuffed, torn, and partially missing labels, 1945 typed on label, cracked and chipped wax capsule with very slight signs of seepage on top, wax has small holes on top of capsule, excellent color and clarity, Lot 85: u. 6cm, heavily damp-stained and scuffed label, 1945 typed on label, cracked and chipped wax capsule with slight signs of seepage on top, wax has small holes on top of capsule, excellent color and clarity

Vintage started 2nd October (2.5 hl/ha – 600 bottles produced) Rare and wonderful. The Romanée Conti vineyard was uprooted after the ’45 vintage. The best bottles are so concentrated and exotic, with seemingly everlasting power – a wine at peace with itself. -Sotheby’s

That last sentence sounds like Thor wrote it himself!

So, if my math is correct (which it rarely is) the Bottle costs $558,000.00, which would make it approximately $93,000.00 per glass (6) and for sake of argument I take 8-10 sips from that glass, that would make it about $10,000.00 per sip to finish off a glass of this elixir of the gods, Holy cow!

Funny thing is, just after this rare and exceptional bottle sold for the record breaking price, the next bottle of identical vintage and size sold for $496,000, which is exactly the same amount of rare except less wonderful by precisely $62,000.00

According to Newsweek, the bottles broke the previous 2010 price record for a standard-sized bottle which went to three bottles of 1869 Château Lafite-Rothschild averaging $232,692 each.

Now, I’m not sure on how exactly this all tasted, but my grandpa Jim had a stash of “cellar wine” that he’d hide from grandma. Sometimes he’d forget about it. On the occasion he would remember, I’d be invited down to have a pull from his “Chateau October” as he would call it… That was the best wine I ever had.



Wine Storage

How To Properly Store Your Wine

In our line of profession, being Butlers and all, Thomas and I are around a lot of wine. Most of the time we are given bottles whenever we have finished with an event and the promotor will give us a bottle (or two) of each type of wine we had served that evening as a “Job Well Done” type of thing. Or, it’s because they don’t want to carry all that wine back to their car, I’m not quite clear, but regardless of the reason, it is always appreciated. So, you can imagine that after a few events, our wine collection is taking up most of my kitchen/bar space. My quandary is, what shall I drink now, and what to put in the chiller?

Unless you have your very own wine cellar, most of us are regulated to whatever storage area we have in our house; basement, home bar, behind the house plants, etc etc. but when you come across a bottle or two that you do want to save for a few years (or a few decades) it’s important to make sure you’re saving that wine the right way.

Keep’em Cool

The best thing you can do for your wine is to keep it at a cool, stable temperature. If your wine gets hot, it can end up with flat aromas and flavours. The ideal temperature to store wine is between 45-65 degrees (7-18 Celsius ), and you never want it to go over 70 degree (21 degree Celsius). Your fridge isn’t really the right place (unless you’re storing that white wine you plan on drinking for dinner) because it gets too cold and might dry out the corks. Instead, opt for a nice spot in your basement or the back of a closet that stays cool. Or, if you’re storing several bottles, break open the piggy bank and splurge for a wine fridge.

Turn Out the Lights

Light is the conquer of wine (and beer in clear bottles). Make sure where you choose to store your wine it stays dark and isn’t getting exposed to direct sunlight.
Getting exposed to sunlight can make your wine prematurely age and degrade the overall quality of your wine. A long time ago I heard a tale that one should use regular bulbs over fluorescent light due to the latter able to penetrate the bottle easier. Not sure if that is true, it’s just what I’ve heard over the years. If you are a scientist reading this, please correct me if I’m in error…

Laying Down on The Job

Have you noticed that wine racks are for storing your bottles on their side? Of course you have, and you already know the reason, so I need not explain it to you. But since this an informative article I will explain briefly. Wine bottles (corked) are placed on their side so that the wine reaches the cork, so it stays wet, which equals the cork staying wet and prevents it from drying out. Don’t bother worrying too much about wines with screw caps or plastic corks on their side (you can), but corked wines should always be stored sideways.

Don’t Rock the Boat

Once you have your wine are sorted and comfortably laying on its side, try to let it sleep as much as you can, that is, don’t move it around from location to location. Let it rest. Unnecessary vibrations some say, may impact the quality of your wine over long periods of time. While a few bumps every now and then probably aren’t going to do much, it’s best to limit the movement of those bottles as much as you can.

Stay Informed

Please don’t forget about your precious bottles once you have safely put them down for a long winters nap. Get online and check out what other people are saying. Your wine may be safe for many years in storage or, maybe not! I can’t think of a worse situation than opening my prized bottle only to find out that I should have drank it 5 years ago. It never hurts to label your wines as well so you can see at a glance when is the ideal date to open.



Can We Just Spoon?

The Spoon, which is my favorite utensil to use for eating ice cream and soup, is also the oldest exclusive eating instrument known to mankind. This isn’t too surprising since as long as humans have needed food to live, that having something to scoop it up with makes sense. The spoon is generally used to transfer edibles from vessel to mouth, usually at a dining table. The spoons shape and style is generally named after a drink or food with which they are most often used, the material with which they are most often used, the material with which they are composed, or a feature of their appearance or structure.

In the beginning, spoons could have been a specifically shaped rock or even gourds were used. By the time of the Neolithic’s, who were already using pottery, the spoon was taking its shape that we know today.

Both Roman and Greek spoons were being made of gold, silver, bronze, and ivory. Of course, the gold spoons were to be used in ceremonial rites. Spoons are even mentioned in the bible. Exodus 25:29 (King James Version), The Lord told Moses:

And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof,

And covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal:

Of pure gold shalt, you make them.



In the Middle Ages, it was common to give newly baptized infants a spoon. If the family were from Aristocracy, silver would be used. If of lower birth class, it was common to use horn or wood. So, the old phrase “Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth” is meant for the determination of if you are born of privilege or not. Spoons were also meant to be kept for life. Much like or previous friend “The Knife,” utensils were not generally handed out at formal gatherings from medieval lords. One had to bring your spoon; or rather the shortened and popular version written on the invitations, BYOS.

Food preparation in the Middle Ages was dishes boiled and roasted, so the spoon was popular to get all the good bits out, especially if the meals were soups, puddings, and stews. The size of the spoon back then was roughly the same size as our modern Tablespoon. In these times, the spoon was forged out of a single piece of metal and shaped into a deep fig-shaped bowl with a round or square, but flat shaped handle.

Fast forward to the end of the sixteenth century where it was de rigueur to wear stiff lace ruffles at the neck. It was decided, after many expensive dry-cleaning bills, that drinking soup out of a bowl wasn’t cost effective, so they started to use spoons with a larger bowl; moving from the traditional fig-shaped bowl to a more of a pear shape which caused the widest part of the spoon bowl being moved towards the stem, and thus eating soup. Starting in the mid-seventeenth century and into the eighteenth century, spoons were being made into different sizes and into specialized shapes to facilitate ingestion. Such new spoons made are the teaspoon, porringer spoon, dessert spoon, tablespoon, and the mote spoon. The teaspoon held half that of the tablespoon and was made to fit in a teacup. The porringer spoon was slightly smaller than today’s desert spoon; it was made to eat hot cereal from the double handled porringer bowl.

To get the most desert into the mouth, the desert spoon was larger than the teaspoon but smaller than the tablespoon. The tablespoon was larger than the other three spoons and was used to eat soup made with juicy bits of food. The mote spoons were the same size as teaspoons, but with a-holes or piercings that were used to remove tea leaves and such from a cup of tea. By the second half of the seventeenth century, the shape of the spoon bowl changed again from pear-shaped to “Ovid shaped” which is like what we use today. To have more balance in hand, the end of the spoon was to be hammered wide, which then allowed room for engraving monograms or family crests.

Finally, by the eighteenth century, the shape of the spoon handle changed from flat to a curved shape that would change the way we held the spoon. Whereas the flat stemmed spoons were held in the palm like a scoop, the curved handle was held in hand more like holding a pencil, which is how we hold the spoon today!

In the nineteenth century, due to the rising middle class, machine-made spoons (and silverware in general) were being made in a host of sizes and shapes for various purposes and food courses. The 25 common spoons you may see or use are listed below: Please note, there are more than what I have listed.



Absinthe spoon, Bouillon Spoon, Chinese Spoon, Caviar Spoon, Citrus Spoon, Coffee Spoon, Chocolate Spoon, Cream Soup Spoon, Demitasse Spoon, Desert Spoon, Egg Spoon, French Sauce Spoon, Five O’clock Spoon, Iced-Beverage spoon or Ice tea spoon, Ice Cream Spoon, Oval Soup Spoon, Place Spoon, Tea Spoon, Table Spoon, Salt Spoon, Spork, Sporf, Spife spoon, Stroon Spoon and finally the M1926 Spoon.