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Wine/1943 Tokaji Crown Estates 6 Puttonyos Museum Collection


I was given this bottle by my cousin who lives in Hungary, he said that the wine has been in the family since 1943. Do you have any idea about how much this wine is worth. I went on line and there is no information about this wine. Please advise of if there is someone else who I can contact? However, based on your resume I don't believe there is anyone else with your level of knowledge. Also, not really interested in selling this wine, just curious.
Thank you in advance,
Bill Vetesy

Hi Bill

This is a really interesting bottle.  Do you know anything about Tokaji?  It was one of the greatest wines in the world before WWII, but the Soviet occupation of Hungary led to a complete bastardization of the wines...and consequently they fell from favor.  Only since the fall of the Iron Curtain have we been able to work with locals (and foreign investment) to try to rebuild this industry and recreate these amazing wines.  

The tough part of your question is the vintage date.  1943 puts it squarely in the middle of WWII, when winemakers were not exactly focused on making the greatest wine possible---they were often focused on their military service instead.

This is a very sweet wine.  It is made by harvesting the Furmint grapes local to the region, but in addition to ripe grapes, they also added buckets (Puttonyos) of intensely flavored grapes that were affected by the botrytis fungus.  This fungus (the same as in Sauternes) dries out the grapes and leaves behind only intense flavor and high amounts of sugar.  When a bucket of these grapes is added to the mix, in creates a wine with more intensity, flavor, acid, and sweetness.  Lesser wines get three puttonyos.  The best of all get six--and that's how many were added to your wine.  

It is a collector's item.  I think reason that you'll have a hard time finding a clear value for the bottle is that I have never seen a bottle like this for sale---so I can't give you a clear idea of value.  It could be quite spectacular--but it might also disappoint you.

I would suggest that you contact a top wine auction house (your best bet might be Sotheby's on an international level) and ask them what they think.  Because they regularly attract the very cream of the crop of wine collectors from around the world, they would have the best chance of estimating correctly.  It would not surprise me to learn that they would have buyers willing to pay more than $1000 for this bottle.  It would also not surprise me to learn that because the age and unknown storage conditions, they will have set a reserve price well below that.

Hope that helps.  And let me know what happens.  I am fascinated!

Paul Wagner  


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Paul Wagner


Wines of the world, wine a food matching, wine and food service questions. I currently teach Wine courses at Napa Valley College, am an international wine judge, written many articles for publication, and have been a guest speaker at way too many wine conferences to remember. 25 years in the business. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, I authored the definitive book on wine marketing: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book for professionals! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at, where I answer questions about wine and food on the air.


30 years in the business.

Society of Wine Educators, Academy of Wine Communications, American Wine Society

Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Fine Wine Journal, les Amis du Vin Journal, Society of Wine Educators Journal, and more.

I have taught at Napa Valley College for the last twenty years.

Awards and Honors
Spanish National Wine Fair: A lifetime dedicated to wine award. Espaderino della Castelania di Soave in Italy.

Past/Present Clients
Wineries include Caymus, Wente, Parducci, Shannon Ridge, Paul Dolan Wines, Vigilance, and others. Wine regions include the Union des Grand Crus de Borcdeaux, Union des Grands Crus de St. Emilion, Consorzio di Chianti CLassico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Consorzio di Franciacorta, Rioja Alavesa, and others.

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