Petrus, Romanee Conti Top $17.5 Million Sotheby’s H.K. Sale

Asian collectors snapped up cases of Burgundy such as Romanee Conti and Montrachet as Sotheby’s (BID) sold HK$136.5 million ($17.5 million) of wine in three days at the start of its Hong Kong marathon.

All three auctions were sold out, with a case of 1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti fetching HK$1.8 million to become the top lot. Bottles of 1982 Chateau Petrus made $6,500 each on the first day. Haut-Brion, Latour, Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild were also in demand.

“Prices are up at least 20 percent on the October auction,” said S.K. Yu, a Hong Kong wine collector. “To those on the mainland, even though the final bid price is 30 percent higher than it should be, the item can still be sold for twice as much in China.”

Hong Kong eclipsed the U.S. in 2010 as the No. 1 wine auction market, based on research by the Wine Spectator Magazine. Sales in the former U.K. colony were $165 million, 40 percent of the global total. Hong Kong scrapped wine duties in February 2008, spurring demand.

Yu, 41, brought with him an iPad and computer to cross- check the market prices of the goods during the auction.

Sotheby’s raised $14.6 million in a two-day wine auction in January and HK$410.4 million in 2010, 60 percent of its global total and more than New York and London combined, it said in January. The three-day sale series brought the combined total of Sotheby’s Hong Kong wine sales series in 2011 to HK$250 million.

“There’s an auction fever that is almost contagious,” Jeannie Cho Lee, a Master of Wine, said before the sale. “The buyers are more and more mainland Chinese. Iconic brands seem to sell better because brand is especially important where there is a culture of giving and the importance of face.”

First Sale

The 3,600-lot spring sale is part of Hong Kong’s first major auction of the year and had a presale estimate of HK$2.4 billion, said New York-based Sotheby’s, the world’s biggest publicly traded auction company.

The weekend wine sales are followed by Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, traditional Chinese paintings, antiques, jewelry, watches and ceramics through April 8. The highlights are two private European collections of ceramics and Chinese contemporary art, including an 18th-century Qing vase worth more than $23 million.

Guy Ullens, founder of Beijing’s largest private art museum, sold 106 works of Chinese contemporary art today that Sotheby’s estimated would raise as much as HK$130 million.

Potential buyers who aren’t represented at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre sale can bid via Sotheby’s online bidding system.

--Billy Chan and Bei Hu in Hong Kong. Editors: Mark Beech, Farah Nayeri.

To contact the writer on the story: Billy Chan in Hong Kong at bchan101@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

The scene at Sotheby's Saturday wine sale in Hong Kong. The first day of ``The Ultimate Cellar'' sale raised HK$68.7 million, said the auction house.

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Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

The scene at Sotheby's Saturday wine sale in Hong Kong. The first day of ``The Ultimate Cellar'' sale raised HK$68.7 million, said the auction house. Close

The scene at Sotheby's Saturday wine sale in Hong Kong. The first day of ``The Ultimate Cellar'' sale raised HK$68.7... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Bottles of Romanee Conti, a rare red Burgundy, with vintages dating from 1964 to 1985. The wine is estimated to bring $160,000 for a case of 11. Close

Bottles of Romanee Conti, a rare red Burgundy, with vintages dating from 1964 to 1985. The wine is estimated to bring... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Bottles of white Bordeaux and Burgundy. The Haut-Brion Blanc 1989, and Montrachet Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1990, may fetch respectively $25,000 to $50,000 a case. Close

Bottles of white Bordeaux and Burgundy. The Haut-Brion Blanc 1989, and Montrachet Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1990,... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

Bottles of Romanee Conti red Burgundy included in the two-day ``Ultimate Cellar'' sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong. Cases were fetching as much as $232,692, said the auction house. Close

Bottles of Romanee Conti red Burgundy included in the two-day ``Ultimate Cellar'' sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong.... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

Sotheby's starts its wine auction in Hong Kong on April 1, 2011. The first sale was ``The Classical Cellar From a Great American Collector,'' which raised HK$40 million. Close

Sotheby's starts its wine auction in Hong Kong on April 1, 2011. The first sale was ``The Classical Cellar From a... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

Bottles of Chateau Petrus sold at the Sotheby's ``Classic Cellar of a Great American Collector'' for as much as about $6,500 each. Close

Bottles of Chateau Petrus sold at the Sotheby's ``Classic Cellar of a Great American Collector'' for as much as about $6,500 each.

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion 1989. Eight 12-bottle cases of the wine were part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized by Sotheby's. Each case was estimated to fetch as much as $18,000. The lot fetched HK$193,600 with buyer's premium. Close

Bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion 1989. Eight 12-bottle cases of the wine were part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Two bottles of Chateau Margaux from 1995 and 1996 were estimated to sell for as much as $10,000 each in Hong Kong. The 5-Imperial size bottles are part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized by Sotheby's. Close

Two bottles of Chateau Margaux from 1995 and 1996 were estimated to sell for as much as $10,000 each in Hong Kong.... Read More

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