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Henry Tang to Sell $3.7 Million Wine From Personal Cellar

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1978 Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux
A bottle of 1978 Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux. It is part of an auction estimated to raise $3.8 million in Hong Kong. Source: Christie's Images Ltd. via Bloomberg

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Henry Tang, whose bid to become Hong Kong’s chief executive suffered after the Feb. 2012 discovery of an illegal wine cellar at his house, is auctioning off part of his collection.

An assortment of 810 lots exclusively from Burgundy goes on sale on March 15 and 16 in a Hong Kong event that Christie’s International estimates will raise HK$29 million ($3.8 million). The top lot is a case of Romanee-Conti 1995 that carries a high estimate of HK$1 million ($129,000).

Tang, who, according to the book “Billionaire’s Vinegar,” attended a seven-day wine tasting marathon in Munich in 1998, has amassed one of Hong Kong’s most extensive collections.

“It ranks among the largest and most complete wine collections in the world,” Christie’s said on its website. “The collection is as worldly as the collector.”

In 2008, while Tang was Hong Kong chief secretary, Hong Kong dropped all wine import duties. The city has grown to become the world’s largest rare and fine-wine auction market.

Investor appetite in China that drove Bordeaux prices to record levels in mid-2011 before a price slump has now switched increasingly to rarer Burgundies.

Other lots that may attract heavy bidding are a case of Montrachet Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1978 carrying a high presale estimate of HK$600,000 and a case of Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux 1996 Cote de Nuits, Henry Jayer at HK$550,000.

Tang, who was the city’s former second-highest ranked official, lost to Leung Chun-ying over illegal construction at his home in the upmarket Kowloon Tong district.

(Frederik Balfour is a reporter-at-large for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn on the art market, Warwick Thompson on London theater, Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night, Ryan Sutton on New York restaurants and Jeremy Gerard on New York theater.

To contact the writer on the story: Frederik Balfour at or on Twitter @frederikbalfour.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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