Romanee-Conti smashes auction record

It’s not the most expensive wine in the world, but at over US$14,000 a bottle it's still a world-beater.

Setting a record for a case of wine at auction, six magnums of 1985 Romanée-Conti fetched US$170,375 at NYwines/Christie’s on 2 March in New York

That equals US$14,198 per regular-size bottle.

Christie’s had estimated the 1985 lot, bought by a European private customer, at US$60,000-80,000.

The purchase price eclipsed the record US$136,275 record for six magnums of 1971 Romanée-Conti, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, paid at an Acker Merrall & Condit auction in January.

The catalogue’s 119 lots were 100% sold, for US$2,579,478 – more than $1 million above the pre-sale high estimate – at Christie’s inaugural evening sale in Rockefeller Center in New York.

Five more lots were sold for more than US$100,000, and 88% of all lots sold exceeded pre-sale high estimates.

The most expensive wine ever sold at auction remains a bottle of 1787 Château Lafite that Christie’s in London sold for £105,00 (US$160,000) in December 1985.

And the second most expensive ever sold – it was sold privately, not at auction – is a 1787 Château d’Yquem, a Sauternes, that an American collector acquired for US$90,000 from the London-based Antique Wine Company a few weeks ago.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York