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Rare whiskies and DRC excite buyers at Sotheby’s HK auctions

Burgundy and rare whiskies have been top sellers at the two-day auction series, as younger fine wine and spirits enthusiasts in Asia again demonstrated their desire for the most vaunted labels, Sotheby's said.

A methuselah of Romanée-Conti 1976 from Burgundy’s vaunted Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was among the highlights in a two-day series of Sotheby’s wine and spirits auctions in Hong Kong last weekend.

The six-litre bottle sold for HK$1.25m (US$159,350), against a pre-sale estimate range of HK$1m to HK$1.4m.

In a separate spirits auction, a single bottle of Yamazaki 35 Year Old Japanese whisky fetched HK$1m (US$127,440).

Rare white Burgundy was also in-demand during the weekend event. Top lot in a further sale was a three-bottle collection of Domaine d’Auvenay, Chevalier-Montrachet 2011, which fetched HK$562,500 (US$71,700).

Total sales from the series of auctions reached HK$131m (US$16.7m). More than half of the lots sold achieved prices above their pre-sale high estimates, Sotheby’s said.

Its results follow a period of especially high demand for the world’s most prestigious wines. They also represent a signal that the market for blue-chip Burgundy and rare whiskies, in particular, has continued to be strong so far this year.

DRC Romanee-Conti 1976, sold by Sotheby's

The DRC Romanée-Conti 1976 placed next to a regular-sized bottle for context. Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s highlighted ongoing interest among Asia-based collectors.

Jamie Ritchie, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s wine and spirits, said, ‘Asian bidding dominated throughout this weekend’s sales, led by robust demand from collectors in Hong Kong, and with participation from mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore.’

Younger collectors have become a notable part of the market, according to Sotheby’s.

Ritchie said, ‘For some time now we have seen a burgeoning interest amongst a younger generation that is both casting the net wide in their tastes and willing to acquire the very best the market has to offer.’

Paul Wong, head of Sotheby’s wine and spirits auctions in Asia, added, ‘Intense bidding from collectors in Asia, who were also competing with collectors from across Europe and North America, bodes well for the exciting roster of sales lined up for the remainder of the year.’

Asia is already established as a major hub for fine wine sales.

Sotheby’s global wine and spirits auction sales hit a record US$132m in 2021. Asia-based buyers accounted for around 52% of the total, said the group in its 2021 review, published earlier this month.

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