I found a forgotten $250 bottle of wine – and sold it for $106,000
A grape return on his investment! Man who found a forgotten $250 bottle of wine that had been sitting in his basement for 50 years sells it for a staggering $106,000 at auction
- Mark Paulson purchased the Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache in 1971
- He had considered saving the three liter bottle for his daughter’s wedding
- But the family believed selling it would be a better move – and they were right
A man who bought a $250 bottle of wine in the 1970s before leaving it in his basement for more than two decades has now sold it at auction for more than $100,000.
Mark Paulson, a retired commercial painter and Vietnam War veteran from San Francisco, purchased a jeroboam of Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache in 1971 shortly after its release.
The self-described punk rocker, now 72, said it was expensive at the time – the equivalent of around $2,000 in today’s money – but he had been tipped off by the liquor store owner that it was a top tipple and so he bought it as an investment.
Mark had considered saving the three-liter bottle for his daughter’s wedding but when she tied the knot last year, the family believed selling it would be a better move – and they were right.
Mark Paulson, from San Francisco, purchased a jeroboam of Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache 1971 shortly after its release for $250
The self-described punk rocker, now 72, said it was expensive at the time – the equivalent of around $2,000 in today’s money – but he had been tipped off by the liquor store owner that it was a top tipple and he bought it as an investment
The Paulsons contacted specialist wine auction house Bonhams Skinner after rediscovering the bottle in the basement.
Experts estimated it would sell for between $50,000 and $80,000 with Mark initially left ‘floored’ by the valuation.
Touching on their surprise at the time, Mark told The Washington Post: ‘We were just, you know, flabbergasted, couldn’t say anything. We just kind of hugged each other and smiled a lot.’
But following the sale, which ran from April 16 to 26, it far surpassed expectations after achieving a whopping $106,250.
Louis Krieger, the deputy director of fine wines at Bonhams Skinner, previously told DailyMail.com that there are various reasons as to why Mark’s bottle is so special.
He explained: ‘There was considerable hail during the 1971 harvest but, because of when and how the vineyards were picked, this La Tache doesn’t show the ill effects.
‘Another thing which pushes the price up is that the production of La Tache that year was staggeringly small with roughly 1,300 cases produced.
‘The vast majority of cases were also filled with 750ml bottles and very few three-liter bottles were made.’
The Paulsons contacted specialist wine auction house Bonhams Skinner – and the bottle has since sold for a whopping $106,250
In addition to the La Tache, he is auctioning off five vintage Madeiras, with the dates ranging from 1795 to 1870
And, in a bid to give his wine cellar a spring clean, Mark had also put forward five other bottles for the April sale.
In addition to the La Tache, he auctioned off five vintage Madeiras, with dates ranging from 1795 to 1870, all of which fetched more than twice their estimated value at auction.
Mark, who was born and raised in Panama, said he got into collecting wine by mistake, and he would generally stock up on bottles before getting together with his rock ‘n’ roll friends.
He told CBC that some of their wine-fueled night would get ‘pretty crazy.’
‘There was usually about six of us. We’d probably have six bottles of old rare wines,’ he recalled. ‘San Francisco was a whole new world after growing up in the jungle.’
Luckily Mark’s bottle of La Tache went untouched and it remained in his basement for decades.
Asked if he was worried about the bottle smashing, the grandfather said that he was, especially when the 1989 earthquake hit.
He explained: ‘My house sustained some pretty good damage.
‘One of the beams down in the cellar actually snapped but in the area where the wines are… it was all good.’
Mark, who admits he’s more of a beer drinker these days, says he plans to mark the sale of his pricey plonk by uncorking another vintage from his collection – a 1959 Chateau Latour.
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