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$1000 bottle of Gibbston Valley 2000 Pinot Noir

A British honeymoon couple from Hong Kong have paid the record price for a bottle of New Zealand wine – $1000.

Now a rare find, the standard 750ml bottle came highly recommended at Gantley's Restaurant at Arthurs Point, near Queenstown, where there are only four or five bottles of the treasured drop remaining.

Restaurant co-owner Brent Rands said yesterday the last bottle he sold was last year for $750 and with very few bottles remaining he increased the price to $1000 in January.

"I thought, it's getting so scarce now, if it's gonna go, it's gonna go," Mr. Rands said.

And go it did, quite pleasantly for the happy couple, who commented afterwards that they "extremely enjoyed it."

But clearly the pair had other things on their mind, good wine or not, and generously left half a glass for the staff to savour when they left.

After beating the world's best at the 2001 London International Wine Challenge the Gibbston world champion trophy holder made fresh headlines in 2003 when two bottles sold for $500 each, also at Gantley's.

Gibbston Valley Wines managing director Mike Stone said yesterday the wine's latest feat "felt pretty good."

"To the best of my knowledge it's the first (750ml) bottle by a New Zealand producer that's ever sold for $1000," Mr. Stone said.

"We've got just 10 bottles left at the winery if someone really pushes us we'll give it to them for $450 we've sold three for that in the last month," Mr. Stone said.

He said it was standard for restaurants to sell for double the cellar door price (plus GST). But for a wine that sold at the cellar door for just $65 eight years ago Mr Stone said it was not a bad investment.

Tony Astle, who owns up-market Auckland restaurant Antoine's, said the most he had sold a standard bottle of wine for was $600. Not many patrons would pay that price but the wine was "obviously star of the show one day".

Gibbston Valley Wines former winemaker Grant Taylor, who made the world champion vintage, said while on the international stage top wines sold for much more than that, the record sale demonstrated just how far New Zealand wines had come.

He said he was now working towards selling a bottle of his own Valli Wines label, which he left Gibbston Valley Wines to pursue in 2006, at the same price.

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