Ethics of drinking £15k bottle of DRC questioned

An Australian stockbroker has questioned the ethics of drinking an AU$30,000 (£15,700) bottle of Domaine de la Romanée Conti (DRC).

The famed red wine from the Burgundy estate comes from 25 hectares of vineyards, all Grand Crus, and which has seen prices increase due to the vanishingly small number of wines produced from the DRC.

The stockbroker, Danny Younis, made the comments during an auction of his collection of 5000 bottles of fine wine, which the auction house Langton’s described as its “biggest and most valuable”, with the DRC element making more than AU$1m.

Younis told the Australian Financial Review there was an “uncomfortable truth” that he would not live for long enough to enjoy the wines — and he was “finding the idea of drinking a $5000 or $10,000 bottle of wine ethically ‘uncomfortable'”.

He told the publication: “Some of the wines that I’ve got in the auction are selling for $30,000 a bottle and there is no way in my world I could ever contemplate drinking that. Even if I were to share it with 10 people it leaves me with a strange ethical dilemma in that the money could probably be better used somewhere else rather than drinking what is effectively just glorified fermented grape juice.”

Langton’s head of auctions, Michael Anderson, said Younis was generous with the DRC and was “the kind of guy who will pour you a glass of DRC because you’ve never tried it.”

The auction includes a enormous haul of DRC – some 267 bottles – numbers which it is believed haven’t been seen before in Australia, and is the sort of bottle that “makes wine lovers go jelly at the knees,” Younis told the publication.

Younis also mourned the inability of “young sommeliers, young winemakers, young wine lovers” to try the DRC saying that due to wine speculation and ‘flipping’, which meant that despite DRC being relatively affordable around two decades ago, it was now out of reach for a whole generation of wine lovers.

Some of the bottles were from wine writer James Halliday’s former collection, which went on sale three years ago. Anderson said he would almost doubled the amount of money on the DRC bottles just in that short period of time.

Younis said he was still collecting, but now “more modest wines”, providing the tip that for him the best quality to price were rieslings under AU$50 from the Clare Valley in South Australia or Germany.

This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.

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