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Christie’s concludes £6m single-owner auction

On 1 December, Christie’s concluded the two-part auction of wines by collector Dr A. Botenga, achieving a total of £6,116,612 across London and Hong Kong.

Christie's concludes £6m single-owner auction

The Dr A. Botenga Cellar: Six Decades of Collecting Part II took place as a live sale at King Street, London. The auction achieved a total of £1,838,900 (HK$18,241,888).

This follows part I of the auction in Hong Kong in November, bringing the combined total for this collection to £6,116,612 (HK$60,270,888).

Totalling 753 lots, the two-part auction was predominantly made up of vintages from the 1940s to the 1980s, with a particular emphasis on First Growth Bordeaux wines.

Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Mouton 1945, 1947,1961; a vertical Mouton collection from 1945-1995; ultra rare Haut-Brion 1926 in bottle and magnum purchased from Christie’s auction in 1979 featuring the collection of the late Clarence Dillon, owner of Château Haut-Brion were among the available lots.

A selection of other classed growths from old vintages, including esteemed bottles such as Cos d’Estournel 1947 and 1961, Gruaud Larose 1921 in magnum, as well as Léoville Las Cases, Montrose, and Pichon Baron 1961 were also sold from Botenga’s private collection.

Edwin Vos, senior director, International Head of Wine & Spirits Department at Christie’s, told db that the reason to kick the series off in Hong Kong was one of logistics, “given the thirst for fine wine in Asia”.

Vos called the Dr A. Botenga auction “the highlight of our Autumn sales in the region”.

“This plays perfectly into the second sale that will be held a week later during our Luxury sales period in London. Being able to hold both sales close to one another and in different regions gives us the opportunity to promote such a special cellar to as wider audience as possible.”

Within the collection, there were an ensemble of 175 lots comprising Red Burgundy from producers such as DRC, Henri Jayer, Drouhin, de Vogüé, and Rousseau, as well as White Burgundy from Leflaive and Ramonet.

Right-bank wines such as Pétrus, predominantly sourced from the 1940s to the 1980s, including 1945, 1959, 1961; and 1982 available in standard bottle and imperial, were also part of the private collection.

Champagne, Rhône, Port and Australia’s Penfolds Grange were also presented.

In deciding how to make the split between Hong Kong and London, Vos said it was “important for both sales to be a true representation of the cellar and the collector himself”.

The split of wines across both markets reflects the tastes of fine wine consumers in Asia and the UK, according to Vos, “keeping in mind the higher thirst for fine Burgundy in Hong Kong and long-standing interest for mature Bordeaux in London”.

Regarding the sale, Dr Botenga said: “The auction is a tough one since every bottle I have carefully selected and has a place in my heart. My hope is a fellow wine lover will be able to place these special bottles in their own cellar.”

Christie’s Asia 2023 Autumn Season exceeded HK$3.0 billion (US$389m) in 2023, the auction house has just announced, across all categories including fine art and jewellery. Mainland China continues to be the top contributing region by value after Hong Kong, and there has been an increase in contributions from Taiwan, Southeast Asia, South Korea and Japan.

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