The much- anticipated Sotheby’s elBullicellar auction in Hong Kong on April 3, sold to benefit the elBulli foundation made HK$14.1 Million, with 82 per cent of items making more than their pre-sale estimate. The pre-sale estimates had totaled HK$9.2 Million, with all of the 445 wine lots sold.
Highlights included three bottles of Romanée Conti 1990, which fetched HK$563,500. A dinner with elBulli super chef Ferran Adrià for four in Barcelona sold for HK$220,500, to an online bidder. Bidding for the meal at Tickets Restaurant in Barcelona started at HK$40,000.
Sotheby’s were obviously pleased with their elBulli sale which included items such as serving dishes from the infamous Spanish restaurant as well as their fine wines of restaurant and investment grade.
Bidders bought in person in Hong Kong and by telephone and via the internet –pulling in collectors worldwide who all wanted an elBulli souvenir. It’s surprisingly just how much pull the place had and demonstrates the power of a brand - even after it has closed.
It showed quite how global the reach is of the elBulli appeal and fascination with Ferran Adrià over the last quarter century, said Robert Sleigh, Sotheby’s wine auction supremo in Hong Kong. It was a great opportunity for those who had the experience of elBulli first hand but also for the very many who did not.
Estimating prices had been a challenge. “It’s difficult to factor in the extra appeal of the el Bulli connection.”
The sale was in three parts: wines from the restaurant, investment grade wines – which are what Sotheby’s normally deals with - with a lot of Spanish wines.
In general the elBulli wines sold for a premium because of the elBulli history, he said. Bottles signed by Ferran Adrià sold for an added premium as well.
“People saw it as an opportunity to acquire a bit of gastronomic history.”
Round two of the sale will be in New York on April 26. So if you missed out first time, then it is your chance. “I just got an email in Hong Kong from someone who missed out on the wines he wanted so he can try again in New York, said Sleigh. The elBulli booty was split roughly fifty-fifty between sales, so expect a similar treasure trove in New York when the second lot goes under the hammer on April 26.