Deutsche washes down cutbacks with £150,000 Grand Crus party

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The Independent Online

Deutsche Bank, which is preparing huge cutbacks in its investment banking business, is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a series of lavish wine-tasting parties featuring vintages going back to the 19th century.

Deutsche Bank, which is preparing huge cutbacks in its investment banking business, is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a series of lavish wine-tasting parties featuring vintages going back to the 19th century.

The biggest event takes place this Tuesday in Hong Kong. It is billed as "Le Palais des Grand Crus" and includes a mouth-watering array of wines, some of them worth as much as £5,000 a bottle - or more if they were served in a restaurant.

Another party was held last week in New York. This was a more modest event: the most expensive wine on offer came in at a mere £2,000 a bottle.

The Hong Kong event has been described by wine experts as one of the most exciting wine-tasting events of recent years. "Everyone is talking about it," said one source.

The wines include a Chateau Latour from 1893 and a Chateau d'Yquem from 1871, both of which would be worth thousands of pounds at auction. A Burgundy from 1865 and Bordeaux wines from various dates in the past 130 years will also be sampled by guests.

Christopher Burr, the chairman of the wine exchange Uvine, said that if the wines at the Hong Kong tasting were to come up at auction they could be sold for as much as £250,000. "Much of the older wines are very difficult to put a price on. You could argue that they are priceless - people just don't get hold of these things."

The events are being organised by a French company called Ficofi, which is understood to charge as much as £500 per person present. Six hundred guests have been invited and the cost to Deutsche is at least £150,000 for the Hong Kong party alone.

But according to one wine expert, who preferred not to be named, guests could end up with a sour taste. "They will be tasting 'labels' rather than wines - many of the older wines come from poor vintages. Most of the 19th-century wines will be strictly undrinkable."

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