A wine from Romanée-Conti set the single bottle record last year; Sotheby's will auction over 250 lots from the producer this spring.

By Mike Pomranz
January 28, 2019
Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Just in case you’re not one of the multimillionaire regulars on the fine wine and spirits auction scene (cough), you may not know that last year was a banner year for boozy auctions. The whiskey market seemed to be breaking a record almost every month or two — regardless of whether the product was from Scotland or Japan — and, in October, a record was set for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold, a 1945 Romanée-Conti from Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits that went for $558,000 — second only to another bottle of Romanée-Conti sold at the very same auction.

That explosive event helped push Sotheby’s Wine to a record-setting year of its own, with the global auction house topping $100 million in sales for the first time. And guess what… 2019 ain’t lookin’ too shabby for Sotheby’s Wine either. Today, the auction house has announced “the highest-estimated wine auction in history,” slated to take place in Hong Kong from March 29 to 31. The expected haul: $19 million to $26 million.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The three-day event — billed as “Tran-scend-ent Wines” — will feature 16,889 bottles of wine across 2,704 lots. Though the collection is said to include bottles from Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône, Bordeaux, and Italy, leading the charge will be over 250 lots from — where else — Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, with selections from five decades “including La Tâche 1953 and Montrachet from 1972 to 2006.” Oh yeah, and there’ll be a ton of Dom Perignon there too for those who can’t be bothered to tell their Les Chevalières from their Puligny Montrachet Les Enseignères.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

“We have witnessed strong momentum in the Asian wine market, with its voracious appetite for the very best wines,” explained Adam Bilbey, head of Sotheby’s Wine, Asia. “Tran-scend-ent Wines epitomizes a modern wine cellar from a new wave of enlightened collectors, and will offer wine lovers from the region and beyond the opportunity to acquire wines of impeccable quality in substantial quantities. I look forward to presenting this important collection in Hong Kong, Asia’s capital of wine.”

Meanwhile, Serena Sutcliffe, honorary chairman of Sotheby’s Wine and a Master of Wine, put it more succinctly. “This is a wine auction that, put simply, transcends all others,” she said. “The scope, range and sheer beauty of the wines in this collection are breath-taking.” Ugh, I knew I shouldn’t have blown through my entire $19 million to $26 million last year!

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