Fierce bidding for thousands of wines amassed by ex-Cru restaurant owner Roy Welland has sent prices soaring above pre-sale estimates at a first auction in New York.

Domaine G Roumier wines formed a significant part of Roy Welland’s Burgundy collection sold off by Wally’s. Image credit: Wally’s

Auction house Wally’s said the first of two sales dedicated to Welland’s extensive collection fetched $6.6m, driven by an array of top Burgundy, Champagne and Piedmont wines. All 1,767 lots offered for sale found buyers.

Wally’s had estimated the auction, held during 12 and 13 September, would fetch a maximum $5.3m. But, it said that ‘unprecedented pre-auction bidding saw most lots open in the sales room at or above their top estimates’.

A second auction is planned for 21 and 22 November,in Los Angeles. Some of the wines will also be offered online.
Altogether, Wally’s plans to sell around 100,000 bottles collected by Welland, with an estimated value of $15m.

Burgundy shone at the first auction last weekend. Wally’s highlighted a 55-lot cache of Burgundy’s Domaine Bachelet, which sold for a total $216,480 versus a pre-sale high estimate of $162,850.

It said 196 lots of fellow Burgundy estate Domaine G Roumier sold for a combined $882,468 against a pre-sale high estimate of $746,340.

Beyond Burgundy, 89 lots from Piedmont producer Giacomo Conterno sold for a collective $404,400 versus an expected maximum price of $343,600. And, 42 lots of Krug Champagne fetched a total $326,400 versus a top estimate of $276,500.

There were also high-performing individual lots from Chablis. Twelve bottles of Domaine Francois Raveneau, Les Clos, 2002 sold for $13,200 – close to double its pre-sale high estimate of $7,000.

‘The Roy Welland Collection is a once-in-a-generation collection, and the wine world has responded accordingly,’ said the president and chief executive of Wally’s auction division, Michael Jessen.

Welland began collecting wines in the 1980s. Cru restaurant, now closed, quickly garnered a high-profile reputation for its extensive wine collection and was the setting for a number of Acker Merrall & Condit auctions in the mid-2000s.

Written by Chris Mercer