El Bulli Cellar, Lafite Raise $8.8 Million in Hong Kong

El Bulli Table Knives
A set of ten Laguiole table knives from El Bulli that were auctioned at Sotheby's. The knivbes were part of an El Bulli sale, itself part of a series of events by Sotheby's spread over six days. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

April 6 (Bloomberg) -- Sotheby’s sold HK$68.8 million ($8.8 million) of wine including bottles of Romanee Conti from the former El Bulli restaurant’s cellar during a two-day wine sale.

The restaurant’s chef, Ferran Adria, and his staff celebrated with glasses of Dom Perignon in the Hong Kong auction room on April 3 after almost five hours in which all 445 wine lots sold.

In the event, held to benefit the El Bulli Foundation, three bottles of Romanee Conti 1990 from the former Michelin three-star restaurant’s cellar sold for HK$563,500 (or $24,200 per bottle), including a 22.5 percent buyer’s premium, compared with a presale estimate of HK$260,000 to HK$380,000.

The sale for the foundation that’s building a new culinary think tank and visitor center, included chef’s jackets, kitchen utensils from the former Michelin three star restaurant and a dinner for four hosted by Adria, raising HK$14.1 million.

“I’m really, really happy,” said Adria. “The money we have raised will go a long way to helping us get construction going.”

The most expensive lots from the two-day event were two cases of Chateau Lafite 1982, which sold for HK$1,041,250 each, compared with a presale high estimate of HK$280,000 Sotheby’s said in a news release.

Two cases of Chateau Petrus 1990 and one of 1989 sold for HK$612,500 each.

A six-bottle lot direct from Bodegas Vega Sicilia in Spain of Vega Sicilia Unico 1953 went for HK$367,500, more than five times its presale high estimate of HK$70,000.

The sale is part of Sotheby’s annual spring auction, which includes contemporary Chinese and Asian art, ceramics, jewelry and watches and runs through to April 8 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition and Center.

Following is a table of major wine auctions held so far this year, with the total sold. Links are to auction websites or results statements.

Jan. 11/12:     Zachys, Hong Kong                     $4.65 mln
Jan. 25/26:     Acker, Merrall & Condit, Hong Kong    $6.82 mln
Jan. 30:        Sotheby’s, London                     $2.22 mln


Feb. 2:         Hart Davis Hart, Chicago              $4.40 mln
Feb. 21:        Christie’s, London                    $1.47 mln
Feb. 23:        Acker, Merrall & Condit, New York     £3.10 mln
Feb. 23:        Sotheby’s, New York                   $1.46 mln
Feb. 27:        Sotheby’s, London                     $1.04 mln


March 7/8:      Zachys, New York                      $5.81 mln
March 14:       Christie’s, New York                  $1.37 mln
March 15/16:    Christie’s, Hong Kong                 $6.19 mln
March 21:       Christie’s, London                    $1.22 mln
March 22/23:    Acker Merrall & Condit, Hong Kong     $4.93 mln
March 23:       Hart Davis Hart, Chicago              $4.42 mln


April 3/4:      Sotheby’s, Hong Kong                  $8.86 mln

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

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To contact the reporter on this story: Frederik Balfour in Hong Kong at fbalfour@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.