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Sotheby’s fails to sell dozens of lots as Asia market ‘stabilises’

Sotheby’s failed to sell dozens of lots in its latest two-day wine sale in Hong Kong - indicating a 'stabilisation' of the market, the auction house’s head of wine said.

Mouton: some vintages failed to sell

Sunday’s Finest and Rarest Wines sale, in which 59 out of 821 lots went unsold, was the first auction not to sell out entirely since Sotheby’s entered Hong Kong in 2009.

Nine vintages of Chateau Lafite, including 1961, 1995, 2000 and 2005, were among the unclaimed lots, along with wines from Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Margaux.

Saturday’s sale, the eighth instalment of the Classic Cellar from a Great American Collector, was 100% sold, but fell short of its pre-sale high estimate of about US$4m, bringing in a total of HK$27.2m (US$3.5m).

Serena Sutcliffe MW, worldwide head of wine at Sotheby’s, described the situation as a ‘healthy stabilisation’.

‘The results can be seen as a natural evolution of the market as bidders understand more about wine and how it trades,’ she told Decanter.com.

‘Second Growths are becoming increasingly popular in Asia as knowledge of different châteaux broadens.’

She said prices for Bordeaux vintages from 1982 to 2008 had shown ‘very little difference’ between sales in London in September and in Hong Kong at the weekend, suggesting a narrowing of regional differences in fine wine auction pricing.

‘It will be interesting to see if this trend continues with our two sales in London this month, including a single owner collection, and our sale in New York in November,’ Sutcliffe said.

‘Given the number of wine auctions globally in September, it is hardly surprising that the market has stabilised, especially for wines that rose so sharply in price.’

The highest price paid at the weekend was HK$907,500 (US$116,346) for a case of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1988, continuing the upward trend in pricing for top Burgundy in Asia.

Written by Richard Woodard

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