Sir Alex Ferguson wine auction fetches HK$29m

  • Monday 26 May 2014

The first and largest of three planned auctions of Sir Alex Ferguson's wine cellar has fetched more than HK$29m (US$3.8m) at a sale hosted by Christie's in Hong Kong.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC) and Chateau Petrus spearheaded the auction, which fetched HK$29.5m in total and was held at the Hong Kong Convention Centre on Saturday (24 May).

It has been a mixed start to 2014 for the global wine auction houses, with lots sometimes struggling to surpass pre-sale top estimates. One in ten of the Ferguson lots failed to sell.

However, buyers of the top lots appeared bullish. Some observers attributed this to the ex-football manager's celebrity status, and several bottles carried his autograph.

David Elswood, head of Christie's international wine department, said Chinese buyers dominated the auction, which he described as an 'excellent result' that showed high interest in rare and critically acclaimed Burgundy wine.

The top 10 lots in the auction were all DRC, with the list headed by a methuselah of Romanee-Conti 1997 at HK$1.225m. Its top estimate was HK$1m.

Ferguson, who retired as Manchester United manager last year after a 26-year reign during which he amassed more trophies than any other British football manager, has been collecting fine wines since the early 1990s.

In an exclusive interview published in Decanter's June issue, Ferguson said that he has received an annual allocation of DRC since 1996.

In second place in the Hong Kong auction was a six-bottle cache of Romanee-Conti 1999, which included a signed Manchester United replica shirt from that Champions League-winning year. The lot sold for HK$1.1m on a high estimate of HK$850,000.

The highest-priced non-DRC lots in the sale were two 12-bottle cases of Petrus from the 1999 and 1988 vintages, which each sold for HK$220,500, versus high estimates of HK$200,000 and HK$180,000 respectively.

Not all lots beat their top estimates. An imperiale of Lafite Rothschild 1986, for example, fetched HK$110,000 on a high estimate of HK$130,000.

The Hong Kong auction represented around 70% of the wines that Ferguson is selling off. A follow-up London auction is scheduled for 5 June, with an online-only sale to take place from 9 to 23 June.

A second Christie's auction held in Hong Kong on Sunday eclipsed the Ferguson sale in pure numbers terms, raising HK$44.7m. One bottle of Chateau d'Yquem from the 1811 vintage fetched HK$918,750, around 50% up on its pre-sale top estimate.

David Elswood also highlighted strong demand for Spain's Vega Sicilia.




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