Romanée-Conti Grand Cru sold for its auction record at Christie's Hong Kong this weekend, showing that Burgundy is still a top priority for China's wine collectors. (Christie's)
The battle between Bordeaux and Burgundy for top bids from China’s avid wine collectors scored another victory for the latter at Christie’s Hong Kong Fine and Rare Wines Auction from November 22 to 24.
The top seller at the three-day sale was a case of 1978 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru from Burgundy’s Côte de Nuit that sold for US$476,280 (HK$3,675,000), the global auction record for the esteemed vineyard. Romanée-Conti also nabbed the second highest spot on the list with another case of its 1978 vintage for US$301,644 (HK$2,327,500). In a demonstration of continued strong demand for wine at Hong Kong auctions, both of these sales tripled and doubled their respective high estimate of HK$1,100,000.
This sale followed a pattern of Burgundy dominating the top end of the Hong Kong wine auction market for quite some time. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti has been a consistent favorite with Chinese buyers for two years now, supplanting Bordeaux. Bordeaux is certainly still popular with Chinese buyers, however—the third highest seller of the auction was a set of 105 bottles of Château Latour bottles that brought in $US301,644. Rounding out the list of the top 10 lots were four more sets of Romanée-Conti from various years, one set of Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux, and two sets of Pétrus, a rising star among Chinese buyers.
China's collectors are also increasingly diversifying their tastes in their search for high-end wines to serve as lucrative investment pieces. “It was extremely gratifying to see wines from the legendary terroir of Champagne, Spain, Barolo and Australia reach new levels alongside the classics of the finest Bordeaux and Burgundy,” said Simon Tam, Christie’s head of wine for China. ”This auction emphasized the growing demand and importance for premium wines with the finest provenance.”
Whether they prefer Burgundy, Bordeaux, or more niche labels of wine, the bottom line is that Chinese collectors' demand for top-tier wine at auction is growing quickly due to rising incomes and a preference for investment in hard assets among China's wealthy. As a result, we're likely to see rising prices in both art and luxury items at upcoming auctions in Hong Kong, mainland China, and beyond.