Sotheby’s to launch new French auction hub
International auction house, Sotheby’s, is adding France as a new location for its wine and spirit auctions this autumn, which it wants to make into an international hub for its wine and spirits sales.
The company, which will conduct sales from new locations in Beaune and Bordeaux, has appointed Amayès Aouli in the new position of head of auction sales for Continental Europe, who will focus on making France. Aouli joins the company from JPMorgan Asset Management France, where he was executive director and head of marketing.
Jasper Morris MW is also joining the team as a consultant for the Hospices de Beaune sale. Morris was one of the founders of specialist wine importers Morris & Verdin, which was bought by Berry Bros and Rudd in 2003. Morris retired from BBR in 2017 and launched his own venture Jasper Morris Inside Burgundy in September 2018. He has also acted as a Senior Consultant for rival auction house Christie’s with responsibility for the annual Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction.
The move comes after the company’s wine and spirits division achieved exceptional results for auction sales in the first half of 2021, a combined total of $58 million from sales in New York, London and Hong Kong.
Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine, said the addition of regular sales of wines and spirits in France – based in Beaune and Bordeaux – was a key initiative for the company and long overdue.
“We anticipate France becoming one of our most important markets, providing sellers in Continental Europe with the greatest access to the global market, and buyers from all around the world will have more ability to buy rare bottles,” he said.
Currently, more than 85% of the value of the wines Sotheby’s sells come from France, so the move was “overdue”, he added.
“We believe it is important to have the property for these auctions located in Beaune and Bordeaux, the two most important centres for trading wine in Europe, so we are able to offer collectors a comprehensive range of services,” he said.
He said Aouli’s strong commercial background and experience in business development and building long-lasting relationships were the right skills to build its business in Europe, while Morris’s “incredibly deep knowledge about the whole region” and special relationship with the Hospices de Beaune team led by Ludivine Griveau would give great insight with each vintage.
Mario Tavella, President of Sotheby’s France and Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe added that for more than fifty years Sotheby’s had been offering a premium output, first in London, then New York and subsequently Hong Kong – and our expansion into sales in France was not only long overdue but “an endorsement of the strength of the global market.”