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Delhi Wine Club
It’s Raining Bordeaux and Burgundies in HK Auctions

Posted: Tuesday, 05 October 2010 11:25

It’s Raining Bordeaux and Burgundies in HK Auctions

Recent Auctions in Hong Kong have whetted the appetite of the affluent Asian bidders who bought up wines worth $13.8 million at the latest auction conducted by Sotheby last weekend, coming close to the combined sale of around $ 15 million a couple of weekends ago at the two auctions by Acker and Christie’s, most of the wines being  vintage Bordeaux and Burgundies.

As in the previous 8 auctions of Sotheby’s all the lots were sold on both days, with 80% of them fetching more than expected price on the first day and 90% on the second.  First growths, regardless of the vintage, were the darlings of the auction, according to Serena Sutcliffe MW, Sotheby’s head of wine. The top lot was a 12-bottle case of Romanée Conti ‘05 sold for US$234,000 (HK$1.815 million). A set of three double magnums of Chateau Petrùs 1989 that sold for HK$726,000, compared with an estimate of HK$400,000. Sale prices include a 21 percent buyer’s premium, Sotheby’s said according to Bloomberg.

As with the previous two auctions, Chinese and other Asian bidders drove the prices up. Robert Sleigh, head of wine for Sotheby Asia, with 14 years experience in the department, said, “We’ve now had something like 6,000 consecutive lots sold in almost 2 years in Asia. I’ve never seen anything like that”.

When quizzed that the high bids indicated that the catalogue prices were perhaps  set too low,  Sleigh, says , ‘no, we  don’t try to be intentionally conservative, and aim to reflect the accurate price of the market, not anticipate or drive it,”  explaining ,’our  estimates are derived from a combination of past sale’s data from Hong Kong, London, New York, as well as data from our  competitors, retail and wine-futures prices. But these days, when it comes to China where wine buying has become a form of competition, it’s easy for sales to exceed estimates.’

The current phenomenon could also be a result of the galloping prices during the recent auctions in Hong Kong. ‘Keep in mind, we always lag behind the market a bit because we have to set our prices three months before the auction when we issue the catalogue,’ says Sleigh. “And even in those three months, the wine market in Asia has grown bigger.”

Here are some of the highlights of the auction indicating that where selling price much higher than  the high estimate has become the norm rather than the exception:
1.   Lot 3505: La Tâche ‘99 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (case of 12)
Price : HK$459,800 / US$58,949 (Est.: HK$170,000-300,000)

2.   Lot 3522: La Tâche ‘05 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (case of12)
Price : HK$435,600 / US$55,846 (Est.: HK$190,000-280,000)

3.   Lot 3532: Romanée Conti ‘02 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (case of12)
Price: HK$1,089,000 / US$139,615 (Est. : HK$380,000-540,000)

4.   Lot 3540: Romanée Conti ‘05 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (case of 12)
Price: HK$1,815,000 / US$232,692 (Est.: HK$800,000-1,200,000)

For those who could not match the higher bids, another opportunity will be knocking at the door on October 16 when Acker gets ready for yet another auction where also  Bordeaux and Burgundies will be raining, including cases of 2000 Chateau Lafite Rothschild; as assortment of 2003 Ausone cases in different formats; 1980's Petrùs and Le Pin as well the Burgundy beauties- cases of 1990, 1999 and 1996 Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC) and Roumier Musigny 1990 and cases of the rare Dujac Romanee St. Vivant. An interesting part of the portfolio at this auction will be 51 lots of German wines, featuring a unique selection.

Can’t make it on October 16th?  Not to worry. Sotheby’s is holding yet another auction  in Hong Kong on October 29. This will include rare wines from Chateau Lafite  with vintages from 1869 to 2009, followed the next day by a collection of investment-grade Bordeaux of a Korean wine fund.

For a recent article on the hottest segment of world wine market today, visit The big three- Acker, Sotheby’s and Christies together recently estimated the sales through auction to touch US $ 200 million in 2010. The estimate stands revised to US $210 million with the current state of optimism and the pent up demand from the Affluent Asians.


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