• Romanee Conti 21-bottle lot fetched $271,000 in December sale
  • Hong Kong auction included Salon Le Mesnil Champagne

Acker Merrall & Condit Cos. boosted its worldwide wine auction sales by 12 percent last year, with volume split between the U.S. and Asia.

Total sales including Internet auctions based on available data, which may be subject to final revision, rose to $69.3 million in 2015, with $35.7 million in the U.S. and $33.6 million in Hong Kong, New York-based Acker said in an e-mail. That compares with $61.7 million in 2014. New York physical auctions accounted for $30.6 million while equivalent Hong Kong-based sales were almost $33 million.

The results came as prices have stayed buoyant for older wines from regions such as Burgundy, northern Italy and California even as Bordeaux has remained under pressure. A December highlight for the auction house was the sale of a 21-bottle lot of Romanee Conti Domaine de la Romanee Conti Burgundy spanning vintages from 1992 to 2012, which fetched HK$2.1 million ($271,000) at a Dec. 12 sale.

“Outside of Bordeaux. prices are as high as they’ve ever been,” Acker Chairman John Kapon said in a phone interview following that event. The sale comprised “one of our biggest collections of the year.”

The Romanee Conti vineyard in Burgundy.
The Romanee Conti vineyard in Burgundy.
Source: Guy Collins/Bloomberg.

Two bottles of Romanee Conti 1990 fetched HK$271,700 at the same sale while a 12-magnum assortment of Domaine de la Romanee Conti bottles from 1988 went for HK$543,400, according to Acker. Nineteen bottles of Salon Champagne comprising vintages from 1955 to 1999 fetched HK$419,900.

Kapon said that demand for wines from China remained strong, even after the government’s measures against gift-giving, with Acker positioned to take advantage of opportunities as the market matures. The December sale conducted in Hong Kong was simulcast in Shanghai, Shenzen, Taipei and Tokyo.

“We have a big staff in Hong Kong, and that’s where everything is run out of,” Kapon said. “We’ve been number one in Hong Kong for eight years running. We’re very committed to the region.”

From Bordeaux, a 12-bottle lot of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000 and a six-bottle lot of Petrus 2009 fetched HK$158,080 each while 12 half-bottles of 1976 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes sold for HK$44,460, according to Acker.

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