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Acker Merrall & Condit hails return of US wine buyers

US-based consumers have continued their resurgence as wine auction buyers, accounting for 84% of lots sold at the latest Acker, Merrall & Condit sale.

Henri Jayer proved the star of the auction. Image credit: Acker, Merrall & Condit

Receipts for The Personal Collection of Martine Saunier in New York at the weekend exceeded pre-sale high estimates by more than 50%, the auction house said.

Meanwhile, the sale as a whole – part one was held in Hong Kong at the end of January – raised US$4.4m, with fine Burgundy and Henri Jayer in particular leading the charge.

Jayer was the star of the New York sale, taking 17 of the top 25 lots, with seven of the other eight taken by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and Rouget.

Top price in the sale went to an original cardboard box of 1999 Henri Jayer Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux, which fetched $148,200.

The sale also claimed 110 world records, 74 of them Burgundy-related and 35 of those going to Jayer, Rouget and Leroy/D’Auvenay.

While Asian buyers dominated the Hong Kong Saunier sale, accounting for 68% of winning bids, US buyers came to the fore in New York, taking 84% of the lots on offer.

‘It was exciting to see New York go toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow with Hong Kong and produce similar results, with many of the same wines getting even higher prices,’ said John Kapon, Acker Merrall CEO.

‘Both markets have raced off to great starts here in 2015.’

The sale comes after a notable upturn in US interest in the fine wine market in the last few months of 2014, with auction house Zachys signalling a ‘significant shift’ back to the US.

Zachys said 50% of its auction buyers in 2014 were US-based, versus 37% from Hong Kong – while Acker said American buyers grew their share of winning bids by 13% during the year.

Saunier, a Paris-born former wine importer and wholesaler who founded Martine’s Wines in California in 1979, has pledged to donate 25% of her proceeds from the sale to charity Doctors Without Borders.

Written by Richard Woodard

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