On the heels of the cult wine episodes, the biddies take a deeper dive into Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Tune in to learn all about this highly sought after (and very expensive) Burgundy wine. While you may never get to try it, you’ll be in the know! And you’ll also learn about the time all the vines were almost poisoned by a crazy guy demanding a ransom – yikes!!


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Sotheby’s, 5 Things To Know About Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Wine

Best of Wines, 10 Things to Know About Domaine de la Romanee-Conti

Wine Spectator, Police Uncover Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Counterfeiting Ring

Cult Wine Investment, 10 Things You Should Know About Domaine de la Romanee-Conti

Cellar Raiders, A Brief History of Domaine de la Romainee-Conti

Rare Wine Invest, Portrait of the Legendary Domaine de la Romanee-Conti

The Assassin in the Vineyard | Vanity Fair

Study Notes for Domaine de la Romanee-Conti:


  • DRC = Domaine de la Romanee-Conti
  • “The most hallowed name in Burgundian wine, and quite possibly the entire vinous world; a name that is implicitly regal, indisputably coveted and effortlessly content in its position of unimpeachable noblesse. It’s acronym alone suffices to command the attention of everyone who aspires to enter the realm of wine Valhalla” – Sotheby’s 
  • Burgundy is a land of scarcity in general producing only a faction of the output of other regions in France like Bordeaux
    • DRC produces an average of 6,000-8,000 cases across all its crus each year
    • Could produce more but their vineyard philosophy is high density plantings of old vines but keeping yields incredibly low so as to produce pinot noir and chardonnay with immense concentration 
  • Cherish tradition and lineage: the current chef de cave Andre Noblet has been with DRC since 1985, taking over from his father Bernard who was there for 45 years


  • A combination of high quality, reputation and exclusivity, and supply & demand
  • The flag ship – Romanee Conti Grand Cru – can demand a price tag of several tens of thousands of euros per bottle and usually only about 5000 bottles a year are created
  • Bottles are often sold in individual boxes of 1 bottles
  • It is recommended that you let a DRC wine age for 15-20 years before opening
  • Distribution is tightly controlled through 200 clients


  • Vineyard was operated by a local monastery, The Abbey of Saint Vivant in Vosne, starting in the 13th C (likely cultivated by Romans before them)
    • There are records of the vineyard from as early as 1232 and wines from the vineyard were traded at more than 6 times the price of other grand cru vineyards in the area
  • In the 1600s, the Croonembourg family took over ownership and purchased adjacent land known as La Tache
    • Belgian nobleman Philippe de Croonembourg took over the vineyard through marriage – renamed it La Romanee
  • Bought by the Prince of Conti in the 1700s (supposedly refused to share any of the wine he produced – even with friends and family) – added “Conti” to the name
  • In the 1800s, the Duvault-Blochet family took over ownership and purchased additional lands to create the 8 vineyards currently owned by DRC
    • The original 4.5 acres cultivated by the French monks still produces the most prized wine
  • The deVillane family bought the vineyard in 1869 – and is still run by the de Villaine family (currently Aubert de Villaine) and in partnership with the Leroy family (since 1942)


  • Most vineyards in Burgundy are scattered so many have multiple owners
  • Monopole – a vineyard with a singular owner
  • They exclusively use grand cru vineyards and is the only Burgundian domaine who can claim that
    • Le Montrachet – only commercially released white wine; about .68 hectares
    • Batard-Montrachet – only consumed at the domaine with friends
    • Corton – the entry level wine that costs more than 1k euros still
      • Most recent wine
      • On November 11, 2008 the lease between Prince Florent de Merode and Domaine de la Romanee Conti was signed for a period of 30 years 
      • One year later the first vintage came on the market
      • Only red grand cru of the Cote de Beaune
    • Echezeaux
    • Grand Echezeaux
    • Romanee-St-Vivant
      • First vintage was in 1232 at at the time this vineyard and the La Romanee Conti vineyards were called the Le Cloux de Saint-Vivant vineyard
    • Richebourg
    • La Tache – wholly owned; costs 4,000 euros 
    • Romanee Conti – wholly owned and only covers 1.8 hectares
  • DRC is also the largest landowner in each of the red wine vineyards from which it produces grand cru Red Burgundy
  • Since 2008 the winery have been cultivating its vineyards in a biodynamic way
  • Prior to that treatment of vines was already fully “biological”
    • Biological treatments can include the use of beneficial organisms that can be used in the vineyard to reduce insect pest populations
      • Releasing predatory mites, pirate bugs, soil-dwelling mites, parasitic insects to control undesirable insects and mites


  • 2018 – $558,000 for a bottle of La Romanee Conti from 1945
    • Only 600 bottles were produced that year
    • Bottle was valued at $32,000 before the auction
    • A second bottle at that auction from the same vintage went for $496,000
    • Still the world record
  • April 2023 – a Jeroboam (4 bottles) of DRCi La Tache sold for $106,000
  • May 2022 – 12 bottles from 1999 sold for $382,000 (Hong Kong)
  • September 2021 – a 2002 Methuselah (6 liter, 8 standard bottles) sold for $398,400


  • 2013 – Police uncover DRC Counterfieting Ring
    • Wine connoisseurs showed Aubert de Villaine (codirector of DRC) and his staff suspicious looking bottles
    • “We looked at the bottles. They looked legitimate, superficially, but we had a feeling. Once we began looking at the numbers on the bottles and other things, we know they were fake:
    • Oct 16 2013 – police officers in multiple European countries swooped down on 20 houses and companies seizing evidence and hauling in 7 people for questioning
      • Two mean, a father and son from DItaly, ultimately were arrested and faced charges of fraud
      • Both work in the wine merchant business
    • Evidence pointed to at least 400 bottles sold fo a $2.8 million dollar profit
    • An initial sweep by French police officers found 69 bottles of fake DRC in France with fake bottles, labels, and capsules
    • Bottles contained various blends of wine of dubious origin and a “very bad organoleptic quality”
  • Dr. Conti – Rudy Kurniawan (Episode 59)
    • Sour Grapes documentary on Netflix
    • Serving 10 years for counterfeit fine wines in the US
  • January 2010 – de Villaine received a ransom note warning that if that estate didn’t hand over one million euros, the sender would poison the vines of its most prized vineyard
    • De Villaine viewed this letter as a hoax but the mastermind behind this had left an incredibly detailed map of the vineyard including all its nuances and notation of every single of one of its roughly 20,000 vine stocks
    • A circle was drawn in the middle of the vineyard showing where to leave the cash in a suitcase
    • A second package with the same map was delivered weeks later but there was a second circle in the upper left hand of the vineyard
      • This letter informed him that 82 vines had already been poisoned
      • 2 vines had already apparently died but the other 80 could be spared by an antidote if ransom was paid
      • In truth, the 2 vines were poisoned and died but the other 80 had only been drilled
    • De Villaine said he had to get the money together through the board of shareholders and a third package was delivered saying to leave it at a cemetery, had a polite tone
    • Jacques Soltys came to the vineyard and began to drill into the pied de vigne (foot of the vine) and plunges a syringe into the hole 
    • Authorities caugh him and it was revealed he had orchestrated a similar plot against Domaine Comte Georges de Gogues in Chambolle-Musigny