Asian buyers dominate Sotheby’s London auction


China may be importing fewer bottles of top Bordeaux, but its wealthy individuals were among the most prominent buyers of rare Burgundy wines at a recent Sotheby's auction in London.

Image © Sotheby

Fine wine lovers across Asia spent last Wednesday evening (22 October) logged in to a Sotheby's sale dominated by Henri Jayer wines halfway across the world, in the hope of adding to their cellar collections.

In the end, Jayer wines accounted for the top five lots in the sale and all of them went to Asia-based buyers. Among those, three bottles of Jayer's Vosne Romanee, Cros Parantoux 1990 sold for £18,000 versus a pre-sale high estimate of £15,000, while three bottles of Richebourg 1987 sold for £17,625 against a pre-sale high estimate of £17,000.

‘Asian buyers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore featured strongly in yesterday’s wine auction,’ said Sotheby's' head of wine in Europe, Stephen Mould.

The auction house does not give country specific figures, but it told that 37% of buyers in last week's auction were based in Asia.

That compares to 34% in its September London sale and emphasises the willingness of Asian buyers to venture beyond Hong Kong in search of deals, aided by the major auction houses offering online bidding.

It is also more evidence that the Chinese government's austerity measures have not wholly stifled fine wine demand in the country, even if recent figures showed Bordeaux wine exports to China plunged by 25% in the year to August.

‘There's still an awful lot of wealthy individuals in China and there's still a lot of wine going out there,’ Justin Gibb, of Liv-ex, the London-based fine wine trading platform, said earlier this month.

Experts believe it is the rarity of certain wines from Burgundy's top estates that has resonated particularly well with Asian collectors.

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