Culvertons Antiques

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Champagne cognac - vintage bottle found in Surrey

17/10/2012 1:45 PM

A bottle of champagne cognac was inherited by a couple living in Surrey - Culvertons were subsequently asked to give advice and consign it to a leading auction house for sale on their behalf.

Thought by some to have been the creation of Dutch traders wanting to preserve their wine for long voyages, it is actually a town nestled in the centre of the wine growing areas in mid-west France that gives its name to the famous distilled wine. Ugni Blanc is the main variety of grape grown, the product of which unless distilled twice and aged for a minimum of 18 months in french oak barrels, is almost undrinkable dry and acidic. The quality is governed by the changes in soil over the six authorised regions - in 1848 a blend of grapes from two of these areas (closest to the town) and judged to have the best growing conditions provided the contents of our client’s bottle.

The future looks positive for this historic/fashionable french beverage. Strong interest from emerging markets for established quality western brands, has led to rapid increases in the hammer prices for vintage bottles in auction rooms around the globe and a substantial rise in consumption. Production has risen by 6.4% in 2012 meaning 162.9 million bottles were consumed - a market worth approximately 2 billion euros !!

Whether for drinking or investment, correct storage is vital – bottles must always remain upright (so as not to allow the cork to taint the flavour) and be housed in a dry dark area at room temperature. The owners of this vintage bottle did just this, and after following Culvertons advice and engaging their services, a reduction in a leading auction houses commission was agreed on their behalf - they saw a 1986 valuation of £80 -100  rise to a hammer  price of £950.