Chrissy Teigen once accidentally spent $13,000 on a bottle of wine that she says ‘sucked,’ but high-end wines really can cost thousands

Chrissy Teigen once accidentally paid $US13,000 for a bottle of wine and sommeliers told Insider that the quality of grapes and restaurant markups might have been responsible. Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
  • Chrissy Teigen shared a story on Wednesday about accidentally spending $US13,000 on a bottle of wine.
  • Two sommeliers told Insider that Teigen might not be “a wine connoisseur.”
  • Labour, location of vineyards, and restaurant markups might be responsible for the hefty price tag.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Chrissy Teigen once accidentally paid $US13,000 for a bottle of Cabernet that she thought “sucked,” but two sommeliers think she just might not be a big wine connoisseur.

On Wednesday, Teigen, who has now been sober for several months, posted a tweet asking her followers, “what’s the most expensive thing you’ve eaten that you thought sucked?” She then went on to narrate her own unfortunate experience.

According to Teigen, a waiter recommended a “nice Cabernet” to Teigen and her husband, John Legend. The couple was in for a surprise when they received the bill.

“We got the bill and it was 13,000 dollars. HOW DO U CASUALLY RECOMMEND THAT WINE,” Teigen wrote.

Experts told Insider it doesn’t seem like Teigen is particularly wine-savvy, but the wine probably was overpriced

“The way the tweet is framed, she doesn’t seem like a super-savvy wine nerd,” Arvid Rosengren, a sommelier and founder of King Street Sommeliers, told Insider, also noting that personal preference is key and can explain why Teigen thought the expensive wine “sucked” — it just wasn’t the right wine for her palate.

While not knowing the specifics of Teigen’s interaction with the waiter, Rosengren said he personally wouldn’t have recommended a bottle that expensive — especially to a patron who isn’t already very familiar with wine.

“A request for ‘a nice Cabernet’ would tell me that the guest probably isn’t all that knowledgeable and I would absolutely not try to force them onto a super-pricey bottle without being very explicit about the cost,” Rosengren said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever cold-recommended anything above a few thousand dollars, and even then it’s only after really trying to get into the likes and expectations of the guest,” he said.

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Annie Shapero, a sommelier and the founder of DiVino, a creative agency focused on wine, agrees.

“Chrissy Teigen is many things, but she is not a wine connoisseur. Wine appreciation comes with deep curiosity,” Shapero told Insider, suggesting that Teigen may not have appreciated this particular wine simply because she’s not a connoisseur.

However, Rosengren does think that, in most cases, “a $US13,000 bottle of wine is ridiculous.”

The quality of the grapes and restaurant markups are probably responsible for how expensive Teigen’s bottle was

Factors like restaurant markups, the location where the grape was produced, and the quality of the grapes might have been responsible for the wine’s cost.

Teigen didn’t specify what region her Cabernet came from, but according to Rosengren, “‘Cabernet’ to Americans is usually synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon from California even if the grape variety is widely planted around the world.”

And California Cabernets are not cheap.

“To get a good bottle of Cabernet in a restaurant, you usually have to spend over $US100, especially once we start getting into Napa and Sonoma Valley,” Rosengren said.

Napa valley
Vineyard near St. Helena, California. Getty Images

But for a Cabernet closer in price to what Teigen paid, there aren’t all that many. Rosengren mentions “a bottle of well-stored, authentic 1945 Mouton Rothschild” as one particular variety that can be worth $US15,000.

And while a good Cabernet at a restaurant might set you back by a few hundred dollars, an excellent one can cost several thousand — especially at a fancy restaurant, where they can get away with marking up the bottle well beyond what they originally paid for it.

Napa Cabernets rank among the most expensive Cabernets and may cost “well into the thousands on store shelves and restaurant menus,” according to Shapero.

Rosengren guessed that the couple might have been drinking a well-known brand of wine at a high-end restaurant.

“Unless Chrissy was served a bottle of 50-plus-year-old rare Bordeaux, which I somehow doubt, the restaurant probably was a fancy establishment that tried to get away with charging a high markup on a bottle [of] Screaming Eagle or something like that,” he said.

According to VinePair, Screaming Eagle (an ultra-exclusive Napa vineyard described as having “cult” status for its low production and high quality) makes two of the most expensive bottles of wine in America.

Pricey wine also has a lot to do with marketing.

“The truth is no wine should cost $US13,000, and we are right to be sceptical of a wine at that price correlating, necessarily, to the quality of the wine in the bottle,” Kevin Diamond, a Brooklyn-based representative for a wine importer and distributor, told Insider. “More likely what [Teigen and Legend] are paying for in this scenario is a name, a history, and a status symbol.”

People criticised Teigen for her ‘unrelatable’ tweet

Insider’s Libby Torres wrote that Teigen became a trending topic on Wednesday after Twitter users called her “insensitive” and many others made fun of her wealth.

Teigen pushed back against the critical tweets, saying “not everything I say on my twitter is going to be relatable to you.” She also pointed out that the backlash was happening at the same time she announced her late baby Jack would have been born this week.