Ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will sell hundreds of cases of wine, including a large cache of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and Petrus, in a series of auctions with Christie's expected to raise GBP3m.
Some of the 482 lots will combine wines with pieces of memorabilia from Ferguson‘s football career, which saw him accrue a record number of trophies for a British manager before his retirement last year.
Most of the lots – 257 – will be sold at an initial auction in Hong Kong on 24 May. A follow-up London auction containing 140 lots is scheduled for 5 June, with an online-only sale to take place from 9 to 23 June.
‘I didn’t realise I had so much, it can engulf you,’ said Ferguson, explaining his rationale for the sale in an exclusive interview with Decanter ahead of the announcement. ‘So, then you say to yourself, well I’m never going to drink that.’
Vintages of DRC Burgundies and top Bordeaux ranging from 1986 to 2011 will spearhead the auctions, which will be drawn from wines that Ferguson has held in private storage in London and Oxford. He estimated he has around 800 wines at home, and these won’t be sold.
Ferguson has secured a yearly allocation of DRC wines since the 1990s and, in Hong Kong, six bottles of Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1999 will be offered alongside a signed retro shirt from Manchester United‘s Champions League victory against Bayern Munich that year. The lot is expected to fetch up to HK$750,000 (£60,000).
Petrus also features heavily in the auctions. A dozen bottles of Petrus 2000 are expected to fetch up to HK$550,000 (£40,000) in Hong Kong. In London, 12 bottles of Petrus 1996 are forecast to sell for up to £20,000, with an FA Cup final shirt from the same year included. A dozen bottles of Latour 2000 are also set to fetch up to £8,500 in London.
Ferguson’s well-documented love of Super Tuscan wines is also evident in catalogue highlights revealed by Christie’s. A six-litre ‘imperiale’ of Sassicaia 2005, signed ‘best wishes Alex Ferguson’, may fetch up to HK$12,000 (£950) in Hong Kong.
‘This collection includes a roll call of impressive wines, including one of the most comprehensive groups of DRC that we have ever offered at auction,’ said Christie’s head of wine, David Elswood.
Ferguson began seriously collecting wine after a hotel manager introduced him to fine Bordeaux during a scouting trip ahead of an away game to Montpellier, in southern France, in 1991.
Spending more than £10 on a bottle was once a big event for the 73-year-old from Glasgow‘s Govan district. He said, ‘I remember my [wedding] anniversary, at about 33, and I bought a bottle of wine for £15. I brought it home and my wife Cathy said: are you off your head?’
A full interview with Sir Alex Ferguson will be published in the June issue of Decanter magazine, which goes on sale 7 May.
Written by Chris Mercer