26th February, 2016 by Rupert Millar
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was the most profitable wine label for auction house Sotheby’s last year, while Mouton made significant gains.
For the third year in a row, the Burgundian super star topped the auction house’s rankings of best-selling producers at both auction and retail.
The house made US$60.4 million from its fine wine sales in 2015, the top lot being six bottles of 1990 DRC which fetched $158,000 in Hong Kong.
Overall, DRC sales increased 16% to $10.3m, which represented 17% of total wine sales.
Burgundy in general was a major driver of sales last year, increasing from 26% to 40% of all sales while those from Bordeaux dropped from 62% to 46%.
Armand Rousseau and Georges Roumier both rose into the top 10 list for the first time in 2015 accounting for $1.8m and $1.4m respectively.
The average price for a bottle of Bordeaux remained relatively flat at auction at around $483 but rose 9% in retail to $216, while prices for Burgundy rose 31% at auction to over $1,000 and 40% in retail to $220.
Bordeaux still enjoyed good sales despite losing ground to Burgundy and the ex-cellar sale of Mouton Rothschild in Hong Kong helped propel the first growth from fifth place in 2014 to second place in 2015 – having made $6.1m in sales. Liv-ex also noted recently that Mouton had overtaken Lafite to become the most searched for wine on the platform.
Likewise, the ex-cellar sale of Margaux in New York last autumn led to that estate jumping from seventh to fourth place and $3.5m in sales.
Also in the top 10 were Lafite ($3.6m), Latour ($2.3), Petrus ($3m) and Haut-Brion ($1.6m).
Value sales of California wines grew from 2% to 3%, those of Champagne from 2% to 4% and Italy 2% to 3%. The average bottle price of Champagne, Californian, Italian, Spanish wines all increased at auction but were lower at retail.
Interestingly, the prices for Rhône wines increased by 30% across both channels.