Allegrini 2018

Sotheby’s earned 92 million US dollars from wine in 2020, 20% from Romanée-Conti lots

Ornellaia got 31%, in value, of all the awards of Italian lots, followed by Sassicaia, Masseto, Antinori, Gaja and Soldera
Sotheby’s end year accounts for 2020 wine auctions

Everyone, and that means absolutely everyone in the wine world, has paid the price of the dramatic year just gone by, 2020, including the large auction houses. Sotheby’s, for instance, has closed its wine department year at 92 million US dollars (down from 118 million US dollars in 2019), at an average price per bottle of 686 US dollars for wine and 7.058 US dollars for spirits. The turnover of the sector, from 1995 to today, has reached 1.3 billion US dollars. Further, a single producer and by far the most iconic, not only in Burgundy, Romanée-Conti, accounted for 20% of Sotheby’s turnover in 2020, generating 19.4 million US dollars for lots that went under the hammer. Moreover, since 2013, when sales reached 7.2 million dollars, Romanée-Conti has always been the most valued, and not surprisingly, as the six companies that follow in the rankings, all together, have collected less. Pétrus (4.2 million US dollars) takes second place, then Jean-Louis Chave (3.1 million dollars), Henri Jayer (3 million dollars), Mouton Rothschild (2.8 million dollars), Lafite (2.8 million dollars), Domaine Leroy (2.1 million dollars) and Haut Brion (2.1 million US dollars).
There are some wine regions around the world where a single wine represents an enormous share of the awards. This happens to be the case in Italy, as lots of Ornellaia wine account for 31% of the total, and it is even more so in Spain, as Vega Sicilia is worth 58% of all Spanish wines that ended up under Sotheby's hammer in 2020. Going back to Italy, instead, following Ornellaia, there is Sassicaia (14%), then Masseto (11%), Antinori (5%), Gaja (5%), Soldera (3%), Tenuta di Trinoro (3%), Fontodi (2%) and Biondi-Santi (2%), which together represent, in value, 76% of the Italian lots that Sotheby's sold in 2020. It is even more concentrated in Champagne, since 59% of sales, in value, come from three wines, Dom Pérignon, Salon and Krug. On the other hand, 38% of Bordeaux's sales come from Pétrus, Mouton and Lafite.
Each territory is different and of course so are prices; however, on average they are all decreasing, even if this is not an objective statistical data. From auction to auction and from year to year, the offer is never the same. A bottle of Bordeaux, on average, sold for 4.674 US dollars (513 US dollars less than in 2019), a bottle of Burgundy sold for 1.576 US dollars (compared to 1.904 US dollars in 2019), a bottle of Champagne sold for 404 US dollars (down 1.029 US dollars compared to 2019), and a bottle of Italian wine sold for 193 US dollars (down from 369 US dollars in 2019). In line with the trend of the last few years, 65% of buyers come from Asia, 18% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 17% from America.
The ranking of the top lots in different categories is quite interesting. For example, 12 bottles of Romanée Conti 1990 from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti sold for 483.413 US dollars, in second place, Romanée Conti 1999 Mathusalem, which sold for 322.275 US dollars and then the 2005 Romanée Conti Mathusalem, which sold for 297.600 US dollars. Excluding Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the top lot sold among Burgundy wines was the 1985 Henri Jayer Magnum of Richebourg, which reached 241.706 US dollars, while among the Bordeaux wines the most valuable under Sotheby’s hammer in 2020 was the 12-bottle Château Cheval Blanc 1947, which sold for 290.182 US dollars.

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