Wine Auctioneers Adopt Innovative Techniques To Tap Hong Kong Market

New Wine Auction House Spectrum Sells 686 Lots, 5,500 Bottles  In All, In First Trans-Pacific Auction

The Spectrum auction was well-attended both in California and in Hong Kong

The Spectrum auction was well-attended both in California and in Hong Kong

As we reported earlier this month, November has been a big month for wine lovers in Hong Kong, with events like the 2nd Annual Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair and the Spectrum Wine Auctions auction of the Aubrey McClendon Collection, which took place this last weekend in California and was simulcast at Crown Wine Cellars in Hong Kong.

According to a dispatch from Noë Gold, the auction was successful, no doubt helped by the willingness of Hong Kong aficionados to pay top dollar for fine and rare wines in recent auctions:

You couldn’t tell there was any kind of recession going on at The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif., where a selection of wines from “The Aubrey McClendon Collection” where the featured attraction in a rousing and sometimes raucous auction in which 686 lots comprising 5,500 total bottles were sold by Spectrum Wine Auctions, the world’s newest live and online auction house of fine collectible wine, based here in Orange County.

From the opening gavel, wielded by Master of Ceremonies Ursula Hermacinski, Estate Director of the maverick Napa-based Screaming Eagle winery and author of “The Wine Lover’s Guide to Auctions,” it was apparent that this was a historic and special event. Bids were fielded from the auction floor, from live Internet participants and from the Crown Wine Cellars in Hong Kong, where the premiere live auction was simulcast live via satellite at 9:00am local Hong Kong time November 22.

As she introduced Lot #5, a 12-bottle group of Chateau Lafite Rothchild 2000 PauillacPremier Grand Cru with an opening bid of $16,000, Hermacinski said a few words about its consigner, Chesapeake Energy Corp. co-founder Aubrey McClendon, considered to be one of  the greatest American wine collectors, having built an extensive collection highlighted by the best vintages of French Bordeaux and Burgundies, as well as a deep collection of impressive Napa selections. McClendon co-founded Chesapeake Energy Corporation, 3900 bottles of which anchored the auction.

“Mr. McClendon,” she noted, “only wanted the very best from the very best sources.” This is especially true of McLendon’s predilection for large bottles, such as the Imperial (6-litre) of 1990 Lafite Rothschild (Lot #39, pictured), which he signed “Cheers and thank you for acquiring me!” and which was offered, with commissions earned from the sale to be donated to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma on behalf of Mr. McClendon and Spectrum Wine Auctions. The special large-format bottle fetched $6,000.

Other special offerings that sold – and one that did not sell, because it was consumed appreciatively by the auction’s panel – are highlighted here:

• Lot #82, a Jeroboam (4.5-litre) of Chateau Latour 1961 Pauillac-Medoc Premier Cru Class, which started at $24,000 and sold for $25,000. The Chateau Latours offered in the auction are considered among the rarest of collectible wines.

• Lot #112, an Imperial of Chateau Mouton-Rothchild 2005 Pauillac Premier Cru Class, which sold for $6,500 to an Internet bidder.

• Lot #156, one bottle of Chateau Mouton-Rothchild 1982 Pauillac Premier Cru Class, “the only one in the auction,” according to the MC, sold for $1,100 on the floor.

Collection. Sale price $9,500.McClendon Class, from the Cru• Lot #173, three Double Magnums (3-litre) of Chateau Margaux 2000 Margaux Premier

Bidding was spirited for some of the auction's more prized lots

Bidding was spirited for some of the auction's more prized lots

• Lot #434 (pictured), 12 bottles in the original wood casket of Romany-Conti 1962 Grand Cru Class Domaine de la Romany-Conti. Sale price $88,000.

That Magnum (1.5-litre) of Chateau Latour 1961 Pauillac-Medoc (Lot #79), which was not sold was actually withdrawn by the consigner because, as Ursula Hermacinski explained it, “… the esteemed panel of the Spectrum Wine team of experienced wine connoisseurs drank it! Though it should have been offered for $5,000, we were very grateful to have enjoyed it because it was truly excellent.” 


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