Sir, Professor Ian Fells (letter, April 13 ) complains about the price of a Château Pétrus, claiming that it is “a triumph of branding and salesmanship and very little to do with quality”.
With respect, Professor Fells misses the point. Fine wine is like art or music. The prices commanded by works by, say, Picasso and Van Gogh over countless others may have little to do with superior skill of the artist, still less the intrinsic value of the materials used, and everything to do with the preferences of the buyer.
While there might be broad agreement over what constitutes technical skill in winemaking, music and art, the value placed on individual examples by the market involves many more intangible factors, some perhaps quite irrational. Ultimately a bottle of wine is worth whatever anyone is prepared to pay for it, no more, no less.