Billionaire's wines fetch $30m at auction

•LONDON • Ten bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945 Bordeaux from the cellar of billionaire collector William Koch fetched US$343,000 (S$473,000) at a three-day Sotheby's sale in New York which raised US$21.9 million, a total it said was a record for a wine collection sold at auction.

Six magnums of Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux 1989 Henri Jayer Burgundy sold for US$171,500, while one six-litre methuselah of Romanee Conti 1991 Domaine de la Romanee Conti achieved US$159,250.

All top three lots sold for well above pre-sale estimates, according to an e-mail from Sotheby's.

The sale comprised 20,000 bottles spread across 2,729 lots and took 27 hours to complete, with all lots finding buyers.

It came at a time when interest in Bordeaux has revived following price declines since the peak of a bull market in 2011, and as appetite for vintage Burgundy with good provenance remains strong.

"This sale sets a new benchmark for the industry," Mr Jamie Ritchie, chief executive officer and president of Sotheby's Wine, Asia and Americas, said in the statement.

"The exceptional provenance and condition of the wines matched the scale and ambition of his collection."

Burgundy dominated other top lots, with 12 bottles of Montrachet 1978 DRC selling for US$147,000 and 12 bottles of Cros Parantoux 1996 Jayer fetching US$134,750.

One methuselah of Romanee Conti 1995 DRC sold for US$116,375 and another for US$110,250, while a methuselah of La Tache 1971 DRC sold for US$104,125.

A Geneva auction house raked in more than US$4 million on Sunday for a collection of "grand crus" from Burgundy's renowned Domaine de la Romanee-Conti wine estate. The 1,407 bottles that went under the hammer sold for a total of 4.2 million Swiss francs (S$5.8 million), with a single three-litre jeroboam of 1999 Romanee-Conti snatched up for 60,000 Swiss francs by an anonymous buyer.

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, which takes its name from its most famous vineyard, is widely considered to be one of the world's finest wine producers.

"We're very happy with the results," Mr Michael Ganne, head of the Baghera Wines auction house, said.

Stored in perfect condition for 15 years at the Geneva Freeports customs-free zone, the bottles belong to an investor who has asked to remain anonymous.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2016, with the headline 'Billionaire's wines fetch $30m at auction'. Print Edition | Subscribe