Allegrini 2018

Sotheby’s, the wine auctions market crowns Romanée-Conti, Hong Kong and Sassicaia

In the report of the British auction house, the state of the art of a world that is now closely linked to Asia and the great private collections
Sotheby’s, the wine auctions market crowns Romanée-Conti, Hong Kong and Sassicaia

The wine auctions market closed 2018, with a total turnover of 467 million euros, up 22% over 2017, thanks mainly to the performance of the American Acker Merrall & Condid, specializing in wine, and the historic British auction house Sotheby’s, which for the first time saw the wine & spirits sector exceed 100 million dollars. Much has changed in recent years in the world of the English house's sales by auction, where today, as the latest synthesis report by Sotheby’s tells us, 21% of turnover (equal to 24 million dollars) is tied to a single brand, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, followed by the big names of Bordeaux, Pétrus (8% of sales), Lafite (6%), Latour (6%), Mouton Rothschild (5%), Margaux (3%), Haut Brion (3%) and Cheval Blanc (2%).
Behind France, Italy is well positioned, with Sassicaia, the most beaten wine at Sotheby’s auctions, ahead of Gaja and Masseto, followed by Bruno Giacosa and Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo, while Antinori’s labels (Solaia and Tignanello) are in sixth place, ahead of Biondi-Santi’s Brunello, then Ornellaia, Soldera Case Basse and Romano dal Forno’s Amarone, closing the top ten of the Italian wines most loved by collectors.
However, it is also the context that changes. Hong Kong is now the real capital of wine auctions, where 53% of sales in terms of value come from, and in general 63% of buyers come from Asia; also important is the “turn over” of those who participate in the auctions, given that in 2018 for 32% of buyers was the first time; also the increases are very high, with 61% of lots beaten at prices above the maximum quotations, the average values of auctions have also risen, rising to 3.5 million dollars, also because entire private collections, often of very high value, are increasingly coming to an end under the hammer; as a result, the average price per lot has increased considerably in just one year, globally, it has increased from 4.280 dollars in 2017 to 7,148 dollars in 2018, 67% more, against a drop in the number of lots of 8% (from 14,913 to 13,731).
Regarding private collections, in 2018 there were 13 sales by auction of a single collector, which raised 56 million dollars, for an average of 4.2 million dollars each, with the historical record of “The Classic Cellar of an American Collector”, under the hammer in several appointments, between 2009 and 2013, widely unbeaten, at 52 million dollars. In 2018, however, the record for a single lot was won by the 7 Mathusalem Romanée-Conti awarded in Hong Kong for 1.5 million dollars. The wealthiest buyers are coming from Hong Kong, in 2018, buyers from the small peninsula spent 39 million dollars, more than Americans (25 million dollars), Chinese (12 million dollars), collectors from Taiwan (10 million dollars) and the United Kingdom (7 million dollars).

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