Dec 30 2010
Content as many of us are to buy wine online for the best wine we can find, serious wine collectors (do they even drink the stuff?) are shifting a great deal of vintage wine amongst each other. One man’s loss is another’s gain, and whilst some collectors are making up some much needed cash with multi-thousand pound sales, others are very keen to acquire the best stuff out there. Sotheby’s are first among the beneficiaries of the process, and their chain of prestigious auction houses have recently announced some absolutely staggering figures about the wine auction activity in 2010. 88 million US dollars worth of wine was handled by Sotheby’s worldwide in the last year, more than has ever been handled by the business.
And whilst sales remain strong in the west, with 20 million dollars sold in London, and 15 million sold in New York, the lion’s share of the profits are coming from Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction house. 52 million US dollars were shifted through Sotheby’s Hong Kong branch last year. Rather obviously, Chinese bidders aren’t going made over just any supermarket Chardonnay wine , obviously. Among the most impressive purchases this year was A Chateau Lafite 1869, the most expensive standard sized bottle of wine. The Hong Kong auction house saw bidding rise up to 232 thousand US dollars.
Hong Kong is positioned to become the wine capital of the world after abolishing wine duty. Foreigner sellers and new Asian collectors alike are creating a malestrom of trade in the city. In January 2011, Sotheby’s will be auctioning off Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wine collection via the Hong Kong site. It is predicted that Lloyd Webber will get as much as 4 million US dollars from the sale. But auctions here and elsewhere are increasingly less about the wine and more about the power statement a collector makes when they hand over a record breaking sum. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to do with some value concious Barolo or other Nebbiolo wine and get a friend to talk at us without pausing for breath to simulate that auction house experience.