Koch sale ‘redefines auction landscape’

The sale of fine wines from the cellar of Bill Koch smashed multiple records at the weekend, the collection realising US$21.9 million in total.

Sothebys-Koch-Auction2-100Over 740 buyers from 23 countries bid on the 2,729 lots, with the final tally setting a new record for a wine collection sold at auction. The sale, held by Sotheby’s in New York, was also 100% sold.

Ten bottles of 1945 Mouton Rothschild that had likewise set a record when they sold for $343,000 on the first day of the three-day auction, remained the top-selling lot.

Burgundy was likewise eagerly sought-after, with six magnums of Henri Jayer’s 1989 Cros Parantoux, Methuselahs of various Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from the 1990s and 1978 Montrachet also attracting top bids.

Jamie Ritchie, CEO and president of Sotheby’s Wine, Asia and Americas said: “The record-setting $21.9 million sale of wines from the Cellar of William I. Koch has redefined the wine auction landscape.

“The exceptional provenance and condition of the wines matched the scale and ambition of his collection, which perfectly reflects the character of the man that put it together, without doubt one of the world’s greatest collectors. Buyers from all corners of the globe, used every available bidding method to buy every single one of 20,000 bottles offered in a three day sale that lasted 27 hours. This sale sets a new benchmark for the industry.”

Koch himself added: “Collecting and enjoying wine has been one of the great joys and loves of my life. It is very gratifying to see so many people from around the world that share my passion.

“I chose Sotheby’s because they understand the importance of maintaining the integrity of wine and the respect of the love of its makers. The wonderful results of this auction are a testament to three important things: high standards of a true collector, Sotheby’s outstanding reputation, and of course the love that the vintners put into making these wines.”

Considering his infamous run-ins with some of the most notorious fine wine counterfeiters of recent times – Hardy Rodenstock and Rudy Kurniawan – Koch should perhaps consider himself fortunate that no more of his collection has come in for the scrutiny that has befallen Swiss-based Baghera Wines, whose recent sale is now mired in authenticity claims.

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