Some of the world’s biggest auction houses are going head-to-head in Hong Kong with a series of fine and rare wine sales.

In what is likely to be a barometer of the Hong Kong wine auction market, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Zachys and Acker Merrall & Condit will all have put rare bottles under the hammer by the end of the weekend.

While Acker, Zachys and Christie’s will all hold sales in the next few days, Sotheby’s got a head-start on its rivals by auctioning Burgundy wines direct from Maison Camille Giroud earlier this week.

Total sales were HK$12.5m (US$1.5m), with 12 bottles of Musigny from Camille Giroud fetching close to HK$80,000 against a pre-sale high estimate of HK$70,000. Twelve bottles of Henri Jayer Nuits St Georges 1991 fetched HK$232,750 versus a top estimate of HK$200,000.

Robert Sleigh, head of Sotheby’s wine in Asia, said, ‘Once again, top quality mature Burgundy has shown itself to be the most desirable sector of the market.’

But, several top lots failed to beat high estimates, including the best selling lot – 12 bottles of Bordeaux’s Le Pin 1990 – which sold for HK$392,000, against a pre-sale high estimated of HK$500,000.

Auctions in the next few days will provide more clues about market demand.

The upcoming sales may also be an opportunity to gauge demand so far in 2015 among buyers from Mainland China.

Acker heralded the return of Mainland Chinese wine collectors at its last Hong Kong auction on 21 March, which saw total sales of HK$45m (US$5.8m). The firm said 22% of winning bids came from Mainland Chinese buyers, albeit versus 53% from Hong Kong.

Written by Chris Mercer