I keep uncovering interesting facts about wine. Here is another:
The world’s largest grape vine has a somewhat unlikely home: Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey, England. The palace was originally built as the estate for King Henry VIII, and in 1768, the landscape architect Capability Brown planted a small cutting of a grapevine for King George III. That little cutting grew into the Great Vine at Hampton Court, which today is said to be the world’s largest grapevine. The base is around 12 feet, and its longest rod stretches close to 120 feet. The grapes are the Black Hamburg variety, meant to be eaten on their own for dessert, rather than to produce wine. Initially, only the royal family and their guests could partake, but the grapes became available for general purchase in the 20th century. The harvest ripens in late August and is usually on sale in September.
According to Guinness: The largest bottle of wine is 4.17 m (13 ft 8.17 in) tall, 1.21 m (3 ft 11.63 in) in diameter and was filled with 3,094 litres (650.58 UK gal, 817.34 US gal) of wine, achieved by André Vogel (Switzerland) as measured in Lyssach, Switzerland, on 20 October 2014.
Biggest winery, of course, is held by the Gallo Family (Ernest and Julio), with $4.1 billion in annual sales worldwide. They have 80 labels, and 20,000 acres scattered over California, Gallo is huge. They recently bought Talbott Vineyards in Carmel, joining other well-known labels like Edna Valley, Louis Martini, Mirassou, Souverain, Barefoot, and Turning Leaf.
Most expensive? Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992, $500,000The most expensive red wine still belongs to this vintage, a surprisingly young wine, a six-liter bottle of Cabernet from Napa Valley. The wine arguably won by technicality when it fetched for charity the record-smashing price at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000. Forget the French Bordeauxs!
Still, this bottle is for keeps and now worth its price for topping many most expensive wine lists over the years and gaining the world’s attention in the process. The region, the most prestigious in the New World, is famous for “Napa Cab,” a rich, oak-aged aroma range laced with blackcurrant, liquorice, vanilla, boysenberry and smoky dark chocolate. A distant second was the Chateau Margaux, 1787, at a mere $225,000!
Most likely, the finest and most expensive wine I have ever tasted in the 1959 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, at today’s price of $5,000 to $7,000. Or was it a 1960 Margaux, or a 1961 Latour a few years later? A buddy bought several valuable vintages on the PBS Wine Auction. The Lafite was exquisite, but required decanting and an hour or so of time to breath. Yes, that is a key word these days!!!