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Billionaire collector Bill Koch wines to be auctioned

Billionaire fine wine collector and anti-fakes crusader Bill Koch is to sell wines worth up to US$15m at a Sotheby’s auction next month.

The three-day sale, Wines from the Cellar of William I Koch, will be held in New York on 19-21 May, featuring more than 20,000 bottles in approximately 2,700 lots. The sale is expected to fetch $10.5-15m.

Sotheby’s described Koch’s cellar as being ‘of almost unprecedented breadth and quality’, featuring top Bordeaux and Burgundy from some of the 20th century’s most highly regarded vintages.

Highlights include more than 125 lots of Château Latour, more than 100 lots of Château Lafite and more than 80 lots of Château Mouton Rothschild from vintages such as 1961, 1953 and 1945.

From Burgundy, there are more than 200 lots of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) wines, among them a six-litre bottle of Romanée-Conti 1995, estimated to fetch up to $100,000.

Outside France, the sale features Barolo from Giacomo Conterno, Barbaresco from Bruno Giacosa and California Cabernet from Bryant and Colgin, as well as six magnums of Vega Sicilia Unico 1962 and a dozen bottles of Grange 1971.

‘My cellar is the result of nearly four decades of collecting,’ said Koch. ‘With around 43,000 bottles, I could not possibly consume everything in my cellar.’

‘Bill Koch has one of the greatest cellars in the world, packed full of legendary wines that all collectors want to try,’ said Jamie Ritchie, president and CEO of Sotheby’s Wine Americas and Asia.

‘Bill focused on the highest quality: the greatest producers from each region, together with the best vintages.’

A noted philanthropist and sailing enthusiast, Koch is also a self-styled crusader against fake fine wine. He reached a $3m settlement with notorious wine faker Rudy Kurniawan in 2014, and testified at Kurniawan’s trial, which resulted in a 10-year jail term.

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