Auction To Watch: "Finest & Rarest Wines" In Hong Kong (May 29)

    On May 29, one of the year's most important Hong Kong wine auctions, Christie's "Finest & Rarest Wines," will take place at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Finance

    Look For Huge Interest In Rare Bottles As New Players Enter The Market#

    The Hong Kong wine auction market, which has seen massive growth since Hong Kong dropped wine tariffs in 2008 and last year became the world's second-largest wine market, looks to be on track for continued momentum in 2010. For major auction houses like Sotheby's -- which took in almost $53 million at the fifth installation of its "Great American Collector" series earlier this year -- and Christie's -- which saw an average lot value of $17,300 (HK$134,000) per lot in 2009, the highest for any auction house operating in Asia -- Hong Kong's wine boom has been particularly lucrative.

    On May 29, one of the year's most important Hong Kong wine auctions, Christie's "Finest & Rarest Wines," will take place at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. Since their return in 2008, Christie's Finest & Rarest Wines sales have been a gold mine for the auction house, with many lots -- like the 78-bottle “super lot” of 1999 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti which was sold in Hong Kong last November for $1.4 million -- going to China's budding wine connoisseurs and collectors.

    The upcoming installment of "Finest & Rarest Wines" in Hong Kong has no shortage of lots that should appeal to Chinese collectors. As Jing Daily pointed out recently, last year China surpassed the United States to become the top export market for Bordeaux wines outside of Europe, and Chinese collectors have shown a predilection for Petrus and Lafite virtually unrivaled in other markets. At Christie's May wine auction, these collectors will have their chance to get a hold of rare lots of excellent provenance, such as the "Liquid Gold Collection," which includes Château d'Yquem vintages spanning three centuries, from 1825 to 2005.

    The collection also includes an extensive selection of Château Lafite-Rothschild, featuring rare Double Magnums, Jeroboams and Imperials of 1959, Jeroboams of 1961 and various formats of the popular 1982 vintage. All in all, the sale will feature over 350 lots, which are expected to realize upwards of $3.86 million (HK$30 million).

    The success of recent wine auctions by major global players has also attracted new competitors to try to get a piece of the Hong Kong action. One of these newer entrants to the Hong Kong wine auction market is California's Spectrum Wine Auctions, which held an auction in Southern California last fall that was simulcast at Hong Kong's munitions-bunker-turned-wine-cellar Crown Wine Cellars.

    On April 24, Spectrum will again hold an auction that will be streamed live on its website to potential buyers in Hong Kong, which is scheduled to continue non-stop until all 858 lots are sold. By taking advantage of technology -- as well as the enthusiasm of collectors in Hong Kong (both local and from mainland China) -- smaller auction houses are finding themselves capable, for the first time, of easily reaching and selling to this dynamic and lucrative new market.

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