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Delhi Wine Club
Another Chinese Milestone for Lafite in HK Auction

Posted: Tuesday, 06 September 2011 14:09

Another Chinese Milestone for Lafite in HK Auction

September 06 : The winning streak of Chateau Lafite Rothschild continues with a record price bid by an unknown Chinese phone buyer of HK $4.2 million for a 25-case lot of verticals from 1981-2005, fetching the record price of a single lot during this year’s auctions by Christie’s of London,

However the fetched price was below the expected price of HK $4.5 million before the auction, a normally unheard of situation since the rich Chinese decided to bring home the Lafite treasure a few years ago.

The two-day auction held on September 2 and 3 also failed to  fetch the expected price of HK $ 8.3 million and had to be content with HK$7.6 million for 96% of the lots sold, indicating the discomfiture and nervousness in the recent slump in the world financial markets making some bidders hesitant.

The 25 cases were packed in the original wooden cases of 12. They were selected by a meticulous Hong Kong based collector for their pristine condition and impeccable provenance,’ claims Christie’s auction website. The wine was sold to an absentee bidder from China on the phone, without a hand raised in the silent room. The price, including fees, also made it the most expensive single lot of wines auctioned this year, London-based auction house Christie’s announced.

The average cost of each bottle in the 25 cases (300 bottles) picked up for around $540,000 comes out to a whopping $1800 (over Rs.80,000 a bottle). Prices for the First Growth in Pauillac Chateau Lafite Rothschild owned by Domaines Barons de Rothschild have gone up by as much as twelve times  over the past decade as the prestigious brand  continues to seduce the rich Chinese buyers.

“It was an extraordinary Lafite collection, and the seller actually trades wine for a living,” reportedly said Charles Curtis, head of wine for Asia for Christie’s, who felt that the vendor received a 20% premium by selling it as a multi-year collection, or vertical, with no year missing,’ adding, “we had several bidders-all from China, and they are just getting into wine.”

Hong Kong has become the third-largest auction hub of the world after New York and London, thanks largely to China's rapidly growing number of millionaires who are regular buyers of the top lots at sales of art, jewellery and wine. Most rich Chinese  Consumers   consider Chateau Lafite as the best red wine in the world. The chateau was astute enough to label the 2008 vintage in Chinese letters when released, making the price jump up by 25% overnight. There are several levels of fake Lafite bottles also available in China with the costs varying with the quality of the liquid inside the bottle and how deftly it has been duplicated.


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