Sotheby's sale of Romanee-Conti wine brings record S$2.07 million

HONG KONG (AFP) - An auction in Hong Kong Saturday broke the world record for the most expensive lot of wine ever sold, with 114 bottles of Burgundy going for HK$12,556,250 (S$2.07 million), Sotheby's said.

The auction house said a collection of Romanee-Conti, one of the world's most sought after Burgundy labels, sold for the equivalent of US$14,121 (S$18,102) for each bottle or US$1,700 per glass.

The lot contained six bottles of each of the 19 vintages made from 1992 to 2010.

The previous record for a single lot of wine - also held by Sotheby's - was US$1.05 million for 50 cases of top Bordeaux Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982, sold in New York in 2006.

"The Romanee-Conti Superlot presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an unprecedented quantity of the world's most desirable wine," Robert Sleigh, head of Sotheby's Wine in Asia, said in a press release.

"It is only fitting that it has broken the world record to become the most valuable single wine lot ever sold at auction," he added.

Bloomberg reported that the lot was purchased by an Asian buyer who was not identified in a Sotheby's list of sale results.

A 66-magnum collection of Henri Jayer, owned by Silicon Valley magnate and Netscape founder James Clark, also sold for HK$8.2 million.

The record sales came despite a much publicised anti-corruption campaign and separate austerity drive by Chinese president Xi Jinping which has hit luxury goods and vintage wine sales in Hong Kong hard.

According to a survey by Vinexpo Asia Pacific, mainland China's wine consumption fell by 2.5 per cent last year, after 10 years of uninterrupted growth at a rate of 25 per cent per year.

In 2013, China overtook France as the world's largest consumer of red wine, guzzling more than 155 million 9-litre cases or 1.865 billion bottles that year, according to Vinexpo.

But the official austerity drive in China has meant that people are increasingly turning to cheaper wines.