Recent auction results in Hong Kong suggest that Château Lafite Rothschild is pulling away from the other first growths. On October 29, a Sotheby’s sale of 2,000 bottles direct from the chateau’s cellars pulled in more than $8 million, including $233,972 each for three bottles of the 1869, believed to be a record price for a single bottle of wine. The presale estimate was a much more modest $5,156-$8,379.
Not only rare vintages sold well above their estimates at the Sotheby’s auction; two cases of the yet-to-bottled 2009 were purchased by an anonymous bidder for $68,632 each, or $5,719 per bottle. Although the price paid for the 2009 is likely to have an immediate effect on the worldwide market, Wall Streeters who haven’t yet plonked down a sizable chunk of their annual bonus needn’t panic. A recent check of wine-searcher.com showed a potential arbitrage opportunity: numerous U.S. retailers are offering the 2009 Lafite for less than $2,000 per bottle.