Burgundies defy slump with sales at new high
Burgundies have kept their appeal for wine buyers in Hong Kong, despite dismal wine auction results overall amid a sales slump of close to 30 per cent.
Wines made in the Burgundy area of eastern France are doing well, said John Kapon, chief executive of Acker Merrall & Condit, the world's biggest auctioneer of rare and fine wines.
In the first six months of the year, Acker's Hong Kong wine sales tumbled almost 30 per cent year-on-year to HK$137.1 million. Rival Christie's fetched HK$96.9 million, down 28.6 per cent.
But for Burgundies, 2013 has been the strongest year so far, Kapon said. The auctioneer saw more than half of its 600 sales records around the globe set by individual wines from the Burgundy region - 348 in all.
For the whole of 2012, Burgundy set more than 400 sales records among a worldwide total of 894.
Kapon said sales across the border had remained healthy, despite government measures imposed to discourage extravagance among mainland officials.
"The effect of government regulations in any country is always hard to project, so it's tough for me to predict the impact," he said.
Next month, Acker will offer more than 90 lots from the Burgundy estate DRC Romanee-Conti in Hong Kong. Kapon also expects strong competition for a 12-bottle case of 1992 Screaming Eagle, the Californian winemaker's first vintage.
Sotheby's Hong Kong will host a September 7 auction that also has a DRC Romanee-Conti theme. The 140-odd lots on offer have an estimated value of as much as HK$16 million.
In October, Sotheby's will open its autumn sale, with wines direct from the Bordeaux cellars of Domaine Clarence Dillon, led by more than 170 lots of Chateau Haut-Brion. The last time Domaine Clarence Dillon opened its cellars was in 2004.
Collectors were increasingly buying beyond Burgundy and Bordeaux, showing interest in the French regions of Champagne and the Rhone, and also in Italy, Spain and California, Kapon said.
More than 21 per cent of Acker Merrall & Condit's first-half revenue came from those locations, up 10 per cent on last year.