Hong Kong Leads Wine Sales with $200 million in Auctions

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Hong Kong is expanding its palette as the city in the lead for chief fine wine buyers, spending $200 million at auctions in the first half of 2011.  The numbers of 2011 nearly double the amount for the same period last year, which is leaving auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s more than pleased.  Collectors are buying vintages from such wineries as Chateau Lafite Rothschild founded in 1815.  In recent months the bottles have ranged from $12,000 to $20,000 depending on vintage and provenance. Christie’s has sold 46.8 million worth of wine while Sotheby’s is soaring towards 53.1 million.  Buyers in Hong Kong are responsible for purchasing half of the fine wines from the houses, knocking New York out of the lead. Jack Hibberd of Liv-ex said, “The rate of price growth has definitely slowed,” which could be a reason for the increase in collectors’ interest. Leslie Gevirtz reports that “Christie’s Curtis predicted Asia would continue to dominate the market for the next 20 years at least.”  Move over jaded New Yorkers, the eastern corner is coming to the center.

An increase of 45 percent in wine sales from other famous auction houses such as Chicago’s Hart Davis Hart sold more than $23 million Bordeaux and Burgundies, New York’s Acker Merral & Condit $54 million and Bonham’s almost $9 million.  During the same time, Zachy’s and Spectrum each reported selling at least  $10 million worth of wine.

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