Hong Kong wine auctioneers break record with priciest lot


HONG KONG, AFP

HONG KONG — An auction in Hong Kong 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 US$14,121 for each bottle or US$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 US$1.05 million for 50 cases of top Bordeaux Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982, sold in New York in 2006. A 66-magnum collection of Henri Jayer, owned by Silicon Valley magnate and Netscape founder James Clark, also sold for US$1.1 million, or US$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 that 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 by 2.5 percent last year, after 10 years of uninterrupted growth at a rate of 25 percent per year. In 2013, China overtook France as the world’s largest consumer of red wine, guzzling more than 155 million 9-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. (PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE)