As the hammer came down on Christie’s wine auction in Hong Kong recently, Singapore kidney specialist Dr. Gordon Ku netted a cool $ 3.8 million from his fine wine collection.
Ku had auctioned only about half his collection of 15,000 bottles that he stores in 3 cellars at home. The rest he keeps in commercial cellars. He sold his lot of Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru 2001 Cros-Parantoux for $55,000, much higher than the estimated range of $33,000- 49,000. The sell-through rate at the auction was 96% by lot, and 97% by value.
A few months ago, Hong Kong tycoon Henry Tang sold “a small portion” of his fine Burgundy wines for $6.2 million at nearly double the pre-sale estimate of $3.74, with a 100% sell-through rate in value and lot.
The two auctions have put the spotlight on how Asia’s affluence is fueling not just the prices of stocks and property but of wines, art, vintage watches and other collectibles (more on that in another post).
Interestingly, at the Henry Tang auction, all the top lots went to private Asian buyers, including trophies like six magnums from the Domaine de la Romanee Conti from 1995 that were snapped up for more than $150,000. A case of 12 Montrachet from 1978 sold for double its pre-sale estimate at $110,000.
Christie says that the number of Chinese wine bidders in its Hong Kong auctions has grown by 1,550%! Of course, if the number screams at you, it’s because the majority of Chinese and Asian buyers are just beginning their wine collections.