Sotheby’s wine hits highest H1 total ever

Sotheby’s wine auctions have reached US$65 million in the first half of 2019, a rise of 23% over the same period in 2018 and the highest spring total since the wine auctions began in 1970.

The results were boosted enormously, effectively single-handedly, by a four-day auction in Hong Kong which made HK$273.1m (US$34.8m) in total, a new world record for a series of wine sales and which included the ‘Tran-scend-ent’ single owner collection which made US$30m alone.

The 75 cases of Mouton Rothschild wines sold to benefit the Palace of Versailles and Notre-Dame Cathedral added a further $2.7m.

Meanwhile, the most recent auction in London this June realised £2.4m ($3m), the highest result this year for a London sale.

The auctioneer also appointed it first spirits specialist, Jonny Fowle, to drive the growing demand for rare spirits, especially Scotch whisky.

If the tempo keeps up in the autumn and winter sales period then the auction house could be on track to break the record $100m it achieved last year.

Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine, said: “The continued strength of the fine wine market, combined with the trust of some of the world’s greatest collectors who have chosen to both buy and sell their wines through us, has resulted in another record-breaking live auction season, with first half sales of $65 million — more than 20% ahead of any previous year and more than any other auction house.

“Our auctions dedicated to the cellars of four renowned collectors accounted for over two thirds of our sales, and we look forward to presenting at least four dedicated offerings in the fall.

“With Jonny Fowle joining the team as our first spirits specialist, we are excited to expand our spirits offerings in the coming months. While our auction sales continue to capture the attention of the public, it was wonderful to see our retail business recognised as Fine Wine Retailer of The Year by The Drinks Business Awards, following similar accolades from the Wine-Searcher Awards last year. We have many exciting plans for the new auction season, which we look forward to announcing later this summer.”

It was also announced this week that Sotheby’s was acquired by media tycoon Patrick Drahi for $3.7 billion.

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