Arts & Leisure

Hong Kong wine auction breaks single lot record

Posted on December 11, 2014

HONG KONG -- An auction in Hong Kong on Saturday broke the world record for the most expensive lot of wine ever sold, with 114 bottles of Burgundy going for HK$12,556,250 (US$1.6 million), Sotheby’s said.

The auction house said a collection of Romanee-Conti, one of the world’s most sought-after Burgundy labels, sold for the equivalent of $14,121 for each bottle or $1,700 per glass.

The lot contained six bottles of each of the 19 vintages made from 1992 to 2010.

The previous record for a single lot of wine -- also held by Sotheby’s -- was $1.05 million for 50 cases of top Bordeaux Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982, sold in New York in 2006.

“The Romanee-Conti Superlot presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an unprecedented quantity of the world’s most desirable wine,” Robert Sleigh, head of Sotheby’s Wine in Asia, said in a press release.

“It is only fitting that it has broken the world record to become the most valuable single wine lot ever sold at auction,” he added. 

A 66-magnum collection of Henri Jayer, owned by Silicon Valley magnate and Netscape founder James Clark, also sold for $1.1 million, or $16,000 per bottle. 

Sotheby’s did not release who acquired either lot. 

The record sales come despite a much publicized anti-corruption campaign and separate austerity drive by Chinese President Xi Jinping which has hit luxury goods and vintage wine sales in Hong Kong hard.

According to a survey by Vinexpo Asia Pacific, mainland China’s wine consumption fell 2.5% last year, after 10 years of uninterrupted growth at a rate of 25% per year.

In 2013, China overtook France as the world’s largest consumer of red wine, guzzling more than 155 million nine-liter cases or 1.865 billion bottles that year, according to Vinexpo.

But the official austerity drive in China has meant that people are increasingly turning to cheaper wines. -- AFP