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“Our Best Year So Far”: Fine Wine Surpasses $14 Million at Heritage Auctions

Dallas , Texas -- 02 January 2018
(Heritage Auctions)

29% year-to-year increase, with two lots sold over $145,000 each: the 2 highest prices realized at any auction in 2017

Rare and Fine Wine sales at Heritage Auctions recorded its best year to date, surpassing $14.1 million in total sales in 2017 –  a 29 percent increase over 2016. The firm also made market history when it sold the two most expensive wine lots offered by any auction house last year. Nine bottles of Romanée-Conti 2005 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti sold for $152,500 and nine bottles of Romanée-Conti 2006 sold for $146,400.

A lot surpassing the $100,000 price point is a great rarity and to surpass it twice in the same year is truly an important accomplishment for Heritage Auctions,” said Frank Martell, Director of Rare and Fine Wine. “New collectors from markets such as South America continue to join our sales; and the Asian market continues to expand rapidly with many of the top lots this year purchased by bidders based in Hong Kong and China.”

Sell-through rates reached between 98 and 100 percent sold by value and lot all year long. Heritage’s online sales exceeded the $1 million mark for the second straight year – a strong indicator of bidder confidence, Martell said.

Market Trends Shifting Collector Focus

Bordeaux stayed strong and solid, Martell reports, but the eye-opening highlights came from Burgundy. The “blue chip” designation is expanding beyond the usual suspects of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) and Leroy,” Martell said. “We’re seeing DRC type growth and prices paid for Dujac, Roumier and Rousseau, among others. Clients that previously focused on DRC are lining up for the next generation of Burgundy Domaines. Young stars, such as Pierre-Yves Colin Morey, doubled pre-sale estimates in Heritage Auctions’ marquee sales.”

A stunning 44 world records fell during Heritage’s presentation of The Romulus Collection: Compelling Burgundy from a California Gentleman in September 2017. The important, 500-lot single-owner collection shattered its presale estimate of $1.8 million and achieved $2.75 million when the final paddle fell. The world records – in addition 50 lots achieving benchmark highs (highest paid in several years) – resulted in an astounding 20 percent of the total sale hitting market highs.

The collection’s selection of Domaine Leroy soared against its estimates, achieving $582,000 against the pre-sale low of $362,000 across 61 lots.

In addition to landmark Romulus Collection sale, Heritage Auctions sold a collection procured by Merrill Lynch head Sandy Weil as well as hosting The Twin Pillars, a dedicated two-consignor sale in February 2017, which was 98 percent sold.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.