Sotheby’s HK Shop Opens With $36000 Haut-Brion

17-Sep-2014 Intellasia | Bloomberg | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Sotheby’s (BID) opens its first Asian retail operations today in Hong Kong, featuring a 12-litre bottle of Haut-Brion 2000 that costs HK$280,000 ($36,124).

The auction house is offering 700 different wines ranging from Chateau Maucamps 2009 at HK$250 per bottle to Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Romanee-Conti 2002 for HK$159,000 at its Hong Kong gallery space and online, according to New York-based Sotheby’s.

Hong Kong has grown to become the largest wine auction market in the world, largely on the strength of Chinese buyers, and accounted for about 43 percent of Sotheby’s global auction sales of $57.9 million last year.

“Asia is driving the wine market globally and Hong Kong is obviously the hub,” Robert Sleigh, Sotheby’s Asian wine head said in an interview.

The Haut-Brion is one of just five bottles of the 12-litre format, known as a Balthazar, ever produced. Sotheby’s purchased it at a charity auction in Las Vegas in 2008 after it was donated by the Bordeaux first growth chateau, Sleigh said.

Sotheby’s has more than HK$10 million of wine on display at its Hong Kong offices and gallery space, featuring the top end of the price range, while it expects to do the bulk of its business online in English and Chinese.

“The website is the shop front for 99 percent of our clients,” said Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby’s wine chief executive officer and president for the Americas and Asia who oversaw the setting up of the company’s US retail operations in New York in 2010.

Ritchie declined to give retail wine sales figures for the US though he said that 25 percent of its wine clients buy at both auction and retail.

Whereas buyers of wine at auction pay a flat 22.5 percent buyer’s premium on the hammer price, retail prices carry no commission charges.

Hong Kong catapulted into the top position of wine auction market after scrapping import duties on wine in 2008. Since then, wine auctioneers Acker Merrall & Condit, Zachys as well as Bonhams auction house have held regular sales in Hong Kong, which also has no retail taxes.


Category: Hong Kong

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