Auction houses posted better-than-expected sales
From the WSJ; January 24, 2011
Wine auctions in Hong Kong over the weekend proved that the thirst for pricey bottles remains at a high.|
Two major auction houses posted better-than-expected sales, in a sign that the city’s buoyant wine scene is continuing its bullish run.
The most expensive lot of the weekend was a “caisse prestige” that sold for $124,102 and featured 12 bottles of 2000 vintage from four top Bordeaux châteaux: Petrus, Latour, Margaux and Haut-Brion.|
“I think the weekend’s sales say [the market] is healthy,” said Robert Sleigh, head of wine for Sotheby’s Asia. “The prices we saw over the weekend were strong.”
While Bordeaux wines dominated the weekend, it may be Burgundy’s time to shine, Mr Sleigh said. “Bordeaux is steadying; Burgundy will keep its upward trajectory. People are learning how good it is and how rare it is.” One of the most expensive lots on Saturday’s Andrew Lloyd Webber sale included six bottles of 1996 Domaine de la Romanée Conti, a rare Burgundy, that sold for $55,846.
Across town, auction house Acker Merrall & Condit sold $10.8 million over a two-day sale Friday and Saturday. There, the most expensive lot was the sale of eight bottles of rare 1985 Henri Jayer Richebourg that went for $100,103.
Both auction houses reported their respective sales were completely sold out and exceeded the houses’ high estimates. Last year, Hong Kong overtook New York and London in fine-wine sales at auction at the two largest houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
“The market is very robust,” said Michael Wiggley, chief executive of Bacchus Partners, a Minnesota-based wine-investment fund that sold about one-third of the Acker sale on the weekend. “I’m always worried about a bubble, but the market looks very strong.”
“In less than three years, the Hong Kong market has gone from a dead start to a world leader. Lots of Americans are now coming here to buy because all the best stuff in the world is now coming here.”