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Acker Merrall Hong Kong auction ‘second biggest ever’

Asia’s biggest ever wine auction has made more than HK$150m, breaking a series of records with wines sourced from the cellar of controversial collector Eric Greenberg.

The ‘Imperial Cellar’ sale, held by Acker Merrall & Condit in Hong Kong last weekend, claims to have been the second biggest wine auction of all time, selling more than 19,000 bottles in 1,820 lots.

Another Acker sale at Café Gray restaurant in NY, in October 2006, was the biggest ever auction. This was a single cellar sale fetching a total of US$24,685,593. In US dollar terms the Greenberg sale raised just under US$20m.

Acker president and auction director John Kapon said he was ‘beyond thrilled’ with the result of the sale, with many items selling well above their estimated value and 97.3% of all lots sold.

Among the record-breakers was a ‘superlot’ of 360 bottles from the Château Margaux Private Cellar, which sold for nearly HK$1.5m – the highest auction price ever paid for a Margaux lot.

Another superlot of 96 bottles of Henri Jayer Vosne Romanée Cros Parantoux fetched HK$1.95m – another record – while five separate lots supplied directly by Château Margaux sold for more than HK$3m, raising funds for the preservation of the Great Wall of China.

Eric Greenberg said it was ‘an honour and a privilege’ to share his passion for wine with Asia, adding: ‘This auction is a true indication that Hong Kong is the future of fine wine.’

The entrepreneur and wine enthusiast was sued by fellow collector Bill Koch in 2007 amid claims that some of his wines, which Koch bought at auction in 2005, were fake.

A New York court was told in 2008 that Greenberg had attempted to refund Koch’s purchase of the allegedly counterfeit bottles, but Koch had refused to cash the cheque and was instead seeking punitive damages.

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Written by Richard Woodard

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