How to Move $4 Million of Fine Wine Fast

Wine auction season is in full swing.
Sotheby's pre-auction tasting. Photo by Leslie Gevirtz

Burgundy has been on a tear this month. Auctions in London, Beverly Hills, live-streaming online and simulcast in Hong Kong over the last seven days have seen more than $4 million of fine wine change hands.

In London, Sotheby’s sale, Burgundy & Beyond: Two Great Continental Collections achieved $1,506,813 (£1,177,198) on Wednesday—more than a third higher than the pre-sale estimate of $1.05 million (£830,870).

Sotheby’s combined two collections, each with what it described as “unimpeachable provenance and from perfect storage” for the sale. The sale was led by a six-magnum offering of Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1999 from Domaine Georges Roumier, which sold for $28,576 (£22,325). From the same producer, the 1990 and 1999 vintages of Bonnes Mares, also on offer in six-magnum lots, brought $21,809 (£17,038) each. Some 95 percent of the 806 lots on offer were sold.

Across the pond and a continent, Heritage Auctions sold $2,849,730 worth of fine wines at its April 21-22 Fine and Rare Wine Auction. With the main sales in Beverly Hills that were both live-streamed online, as well as being simulcast in Hong Kong, more than 1,400 lots changed hands to reach the total.

Burgundy lead the way. The top four lots up for offer were all from the famed wine producer Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. A magnum of Romanée-Conti 2002 sold for $26,840 just in front of the two-bottle lot of Romanée-Conti 2002 which realized $24,400.  A pair of bottles of Romanée-Conti 2006 gaveled at $23,180 and two bottles of Romanée-Conti 2004 sold for $22,570.

“It came as no surprise that Romanée-Conti fronted the pack, but this was an exciting sale on many fronts…The wine market is as robust as it has been in a long time, but given the number of bidders on every lot, we can also conclude that it is stable. It’s a rare moment when investors and collectors can both spend safely without fear of an apparent bubble, but that’s where we are,” said Frank Martell, director of fine & rare wines at Heritage Auctions.

Heritage had 1,423 lots on offer, 19 went unsold.

Published on April 28, 2017
Topics: Wine Auctions
About the Author
Leslie Gevirtz
Contributing Editor, Business

An award-winning journalist, Gevirtz spent more than 20 years covering disasters—natural, political, and financial—before becoming Reuters’ wine correspondent; a beat that guaranteed her colleagues were always glad to see her.

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