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Wine/1976 Dom Perignon


I recently inherited a few bottles of champagne from my grand father who passed away. I have transferred a few bottles from his cellar to my own and I am most interested in a bottle of Champagne Cuvee Dom Perignon Vintage 1976. I was hoping to get some information on its value and the best way to try and sell it. Is been stored at 51 degrees and was wrapped in tin foil (I assume to avoid any possible light intrusion). Any information would be appreciated. Thank you

Hi Tim

This is a tough one.  Even the best Champagnes (and this is one of them!) begin to show their age after about twenty-five years, and this one is now forty years old. Most connoisseurs and collectors steer clear of this kind of thing, particularly if it comes from an "unknown" source like your grandfather, rather than a well-know retailer, collector, or the winery itself.

While it sounds like your grandfather stored this wine perfectly, you only have one bottle, and no guarantee that it's really been stored that way the whole time. (If you had a full case, the auction house could open one, and then verify the condition of the rest.)

For all of these reasons, my guess is that you would have a hard time selling this for full value.  The people who are most interested in older Champagnes are the British, but it's hard for you to get this bottle over there to sell it.  It's actually illegal for a private individual to sell alcoholic beverages in the USA, so you'd have to take it to a retail shop or an auction house to see what they might be able to get for this bottle.  And you'd have to pay them a commission as high as 33%.

With all that in mind, I've seen bottles of this be offered for sale for around $300 in the US...and up to double that in the UK.  But you won't see that full price, for all the reasons I've stated.  My guess is that a retailer might offer you a current bottling (about $160) in trade for this...but you'd be crazy to take it.  

My suggestion?  Find someone who was born, married or graduated in 1976 and make them a fabulous gift.  If it's someone close to you, ask them to open it when you are around, or offer to bring it to dinner and share it.  It will be tired--losing fruit, bubbles softer and smaller, and even maybe turning just a shade darker--but it should should be a really wonderful and interesting bottle to drink.

Does that help?

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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