Hart Davis Hart Wine Company brought auction cachet back to Chicago on 29 January, taking nearly US$2m in its inaugural sale.

The sale, at the Chicago Athletic Club, realized US$1,972,813 – well beyond the estimate. The new firm, a successor of merchant John Hart Fine Wine, sold 96% the 1,483 lots.

Michael Davis, president and chief executive officer, reported that bids came from 32 states, the UK, Canada, Brazil, China, Japan, Iceland and Switzerland.

Nine Screaming Eagle magnums – 1992-2001 releases – made US$32,760, and a nine-bottle vertical of those years fetched US$11,115.

A magnum of 1945 Gruaud Larose made US$2,223, and six magnums of 1970 Mouton Rothschild made US$3,042. One bottle of 1986 Montrachet, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti went for US$2,808.

Chicago’s reputation for hot sales cooled after Sotheby’s held its last auction there in 2001. Local sales given by Edward Roberts International, a small house, and merchant Chicago Wine Company are relatively inconspicuous.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York