Energy firm co-founder's wines go for $11.5m

CHICAGO • The wine collection of late Chesapeake Energy Corporation co-founder Aubrey McClendon sold for US$8.44 million (S$11.5 million) last Saturday, above the estimated range and breaking records for some of the rare French bottles.

The collection included Bordeaux wines such as Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Margaux, as well as cabernets from the Napa Valley region of California, according to Hart Davis Hart Wine, which ran the auction at a Chicago restaurant.

When the sale was announced last month, the collection was estimated to be worth US$5.1 million to US$7.6 million.

Almost 1,000 bidders participated in the sale, with the highest price for a single lot going to a case of three double magnums of 1989 Chateau Petrus, which sold for US$65,725, including the 19.5 per cent buyer's premium, Hart Davis Hart Wine president Ben Nelson said in an e-mail.

Three lots of 1989 Haut Brion double magnums set records, with two selling for US$35,850. About two- thirds of the collection, measured by sales price, went to buyers in the United States.

The auction was held the day after the deadline to file what were expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars in claims against Mr McClendon's estate.

Mr McClendon was one of the first US energy explorers to employ sideways drilling and intensive hydraulic fracturing techniques to crack dense shale formations, a revolution in the oil and gas industry that triggered a renaissance in US energy production.

The Oklahoma native built Chesapeake into the second-largest US gas producer before a shareholder revolt and cratering energy prices forced him out of the company he had led for a quarter-century.

He died on March 2, just hours after he was indicted on federal bid-rigging charges, when his vehicle slammed into a highway retaining wall in Oklahoma City.

He "bought the best vintages and he bought a lot of them", said Mr Nelson said in an Aug 25 interview. "Such huge quantities of the finest wines like this aren't something anyone will see at auction again."

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Energy firm co-founder's wines go for $11.5m'. Print Edition | Subscribe