The world's most beautiful bottles

Five drinks worth buying for the exquisite vessel alone


Belvedere Vodka

South African artist Esther Mahlangu has teamed up with Belvedere Vodka to design a special edition (Belvedere)Red bottle to help fight HIV/Aids.

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Each colourful bottle carries graphic symbols representing the campaign's core beliefs: security, change, support and unity. (Belvedere)Red ambassador John Legend has also etched his signature on the front.

Mahlangu's art, which is inspired by patterns found on the clothing and jewellery of her native Ndebele people, is highly valued and has been seen in galleries all over the world, as well as on the tailfins of BA planes and inside BMW cars.

A bottle costs £35.95 and 50 per cent of profits go to The Global Fund, the world's leading financier of programmes to fight HIV/Aids in Africa.

Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne

Mumm's famous Cordon Rouge red sash was originally designed by the bubbly's founder, Georges Hermann Mumm, in 1876 to pay tribute to the red ribbon of the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian award.

To celebrate the 140th anniversary of this event, Welsh designer Ross Lovegrove has reinterpreted the iconic logo. Gone is the traditional label, with the emblem and logo printed directly on the bottle instead. The scarlet sash has been transformed into vermilion red lacquer indented into the glass in a glossy, tactile splash of colour.

The design has received international acclaim, scooping prestigious prizes at the Formes de Luxe award in Monaco and Shanghai's Gold Pentaward.

Each bottle costs £39.99.

Perrier-Jouet Champagne

Perrier-Jouet is renowned for its delicate hand-painted bottles. Its Belle Epoque range is decorated with elegant Japanese anemones originally designed on four custom-made magnums by Emile Galle, a leading light of the art nouveau movement, in 1902.

Too expensive to reproduce, Galle's creations lay in a wine cellar for more than six decades, until the company discovered them and added the iconic image to its first Belle Epoque vintage in 1964.

More recently, the champagne house has taken the image and spread it – literally – commissioning Dutch artist Tord Boontje to create a flowing tree sculpture featuring the flowers and champagne flutes as blossom. The glasses hang from branches between sips to maintain the freshness of the fizz.

Belle Epoque bottles start at around £105.

Tequila Clase Azul

Forget shots, a good tequila should be sipped slowly – and when faced with beautiful packaging, who would want to rush things? Tequila Clase Azul, which is made from 100 per cent organic weber blue agave, celebrates its Mexican heritage with handmade and hand-painted bottles crafted in the town of Jesus Maria in Jalisco. The bottle style is known as "Talavera" and was introduced to the country by Spanish artisans in the 16th century.

Each bottle takes two weeks to complete and no two are the same. Prices begin at £94.99, rising to the princely sum of £2,399 for the Ultra Extra Anejo.

Magritte Femme-Bouteille

In true boho artist style, Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte turned to painting bottles when canvas was in short supply during World War II. The result was a series of beautiful artworks, one of which, Femme-Bouteille, sold for $750,000 in auction at Christie's this year.

While a Magritte doesn't come on to the market very often, it is possible to grab your own individually decorated bottle – an online e-auction in California's Napa Valley in June saw two magnums of 2012's Arns Estate cabernet sauvignon and 12 standard size bottles of the wine, all hand-painted and etched, reach $1,700.00.

In the UK, both Sotheby's and Christie's offer regular wine auctions, while in the US, Classic Wines Auction each year offer a limited-edition, etched and hand-painted magnum to raise money for charity.

Who knows how much they will fetch in the future?

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