Money to burn

Most consumers are feeling pinched in the pocketbook, but there are those fortunate few with money to burn. In fact, some of the world’s super-rich are amassing Pernod Ricard SA’s Perrier-Jouet brand limited-edition deluxe champagne offering with a hefty price-tag of $5,300 a bottle, or nearly $79,000 for a case of 12. To be fair, the price tag includes a one-on-one session with cellar master Herve Deschamps. And some buyers will be offered an haute cuisine dinner and an overnight stay at Perrier-Jouet's Belle-Epoque mansion in Epernay, east of Paris, which is home to 200 pieces of original modern art. Large champagne houses are enjoying booming demand from a growing class of nouveau riche in countries such as China and Russia. They are drawn by the prestige of “real” French champagne. Other French wines have suffered competition from New World rivals, but sales of Champagne have been exploding. Champagne, the leading French wine-producing region, experienced $3.48 billion in exports, up a bubbly 10.4 percent year-on-year. "We have already seen a huge demand (for the limited-edition deluxe)," Olivier Cavil, head of communications at Perrier-Jouet, told Associated Press. "But don't worry, there are still some left." A word to the wise Better pay closer attention to your morning cereal. Monty Kerr of Austin, Texas, owner of TriviaMania.com, a trivia Web site, paid two sisters from Virginia $1,350 for an Illinois-shaped corn flake on eBay. Kerr plans to add the corn flake to a traveling museum of pop culture and Americana items. Kerr said he will likely send someone to Virginia to pick up the flake by hand so it won't be damaged, reports Associated Press. This isn't the first corn flake that Kerr has tried to buy. He said he purchased a flake billed as the world's largest, but by the time it was delivered it had crumbled into three pieces.