23 December 2020
Sotheby’s annual auction sales of wines and spirits total $92 million
Driven by expansion of online sales and increase in first-time buyers. Market Leader in Asia. Growth in spirits business with 20% of overall sales
Sotheby’s Wine’s annual auction sales of wines and spirits totalled $92 million in 2020, driven by the expansion of online sales, younger buyers entering the market, an increase in first-time buyers, and both new and established collectors embracing the company’s enhanced digital tools. Buyers from Asia continued to claim a larger share of global sales, with Sotheby’s leading the market in the region for the third consecutive year. Sotheby’s Wine Retail also achieved strong results this year, in both Hong Kong and New York.
The Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet. Photo: Copyright © Sotheby's Wine.
Facts & Figures
- Global Wine and Spirits sales total $92 million
- Over 15,000 lots sold across 41 sales, an almost 50% increase in the number of sales held in 2019
- Bidders from more than 40 countries. Market leader in Asia for third consecutive year.
- Growth in spirits business with an overall total of $18 million (20% total sales), 15 sales and 1,800 lots sold – five years ago spirits represented less than 2% of sales.
The Red Collection. Photo: Copyright © Sotheby's Wine.
Top Lot Romanee Conti 1990 Domaine de la Romanee Conti. © Sotheby's Wine.
Prima & Ultima Collection #Set 1. © Sotheby's Wine.
10325-3 Meths Romanee Conti 2005, 2006, 2007. © Sotheby's Wine.
Top lots of the year
- The Macallan Red Collection, sold for $977,496
- The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, sold for $ 507.819
- 12 bottles of Romanée Conti 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, sold for $ 483.413.
The Dalmore 1973, Cask Number 8, A Masterpiece in the Making. Photo: Copyright © Sotheby's Wine.
- Twelve single owner auctions totalled over $47 million, representing 53% of sales, selling at 154% above the low estimate, confirming the enduring value of great condition and provenance. Wines from the Cellar of Joseph Lau and The Five-Star Cellar, Iconic Wines of Impeccable Provenance were 100% sold.
- A three-day series of wines and spirits sales in Hong Kong in July brought a total of $23 million – the third highest-value wine sale series ever held in Asia.
- Demand for Burgundy remains strong :
- In June in New York, three record-breaking methuselahs of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from 2005, 2006 and 2007 led the $5.14 million evening auction of The Pristine Burgundy Collection, together achieving $731,600 and establishing new world auction records for: any methuselah of Burgundy ($297,600, for the 2005 vintage); any methuselah of 2007 Burgundy ($223,200); and any methuselah of 2006 Burgundy ($210,800).
- In Hong Kong, 12 bottles of Romanée-Conti Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1990 from the Cellar of Joseph Lau, sold for $483,413.
- Guggenheim. 10th annual collaboration with Ornellaia on the Tuscan estate’s exceptional Vendemmia d’Artista project, with a sale of large format bottles of Ornellaia’s 2017 vintage featuring designs by artist Tomás Saraceno, in support of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s ‘Mind’s Eye’ programme.
Ornellaia Vendemmia d'Artista. Photo: Copyright © Sotheby's Wine.
Several world record prices for Spirits at auction were achieved this year:
- World record for any bottle of Japanese whisky with Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 1960 ($435,273, London, March).
- World record for any bottle of whisky produced by the Dalmore Distillery with two bottles of The Dalmore 62 Year Old ($324,445 per bottle, London, May).
- World record for any bottle of Cognac with The Gautier Cognac 1762 ($144,525, London, May), which is also the oldest vintage Cognac to be offered at auction.
Lot 87 Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627,1960. © Sotheby's Wine.
Lot 87 Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627-1960. © Sotheby's Wine.
Lot 87 Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627-1960. © Sotheby's Wine.
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby's Wine, said: “Our success in 2020 was due to our team’s ability to adopt a very rapid digital transformation, where we hosted 17 online auctions in addition to 23 live auctions, when we originally planned 28 live auctions. The digital tools that we now use would have taken another two to five years to implement under normal circumstances and resulted in the growth of 40% of new buyers, with particular strength in the under 40 category. The year’s highlights were the strength of our sales in Asia, representing over 55%, the growth in the Spirits market representing 20%, and the publication of The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia. The range of our sales illustrates our innovation as leaders in the wine and spirits business and the breadth of our activities, from auction to retail, from New York to Hong Kong.”
Gautier Cognac 1762, est. £80,000-160,000. Photo: Copyright © Sotheby's Wine.
Adam Bilbey, Head of Sotheby's wine, Asia, said: “To lead the market in Asia for the third year in a row, with our second highest total and backboned by eight single owner sales, is testament to the wonderful collections we have been entrusted with, and thanks to our loyal clients throughout the region. In these unpresented and challenging times, Sotheby’s Wine has transformed its business across the world, with a digital revolution. In Hong Kong, our Spirits business has led this charge with eight online sales, selling to more fine Spirits collectors and to a younger and more diverse client base, than ever before. We look forward to continuing this trend in 2021.”
Lot 20 The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection. Photo: Copyright © Sotheby's Wine.
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist, said: “2020 saw phenomenal growth for spirits, which made up 20% of Sotheby’s Wine’s annual business globally. During this challenging time, we rapidly and successfully transitioned to an online auction format, bringing in new bidders and generating records for the most valuable Japanese Whisky, the oldest vintage Cognac, and the highest price for any bottle of Dalmore sold at auction. Sensitive to the struggles felt by so many around the world this year, we partnered with The Macallan, The Dalmore, Dictador and Diageo to produce sensational results for charities such as City Harvest, Water Aid and Samh. We look forward to continuing this success into 2021 with more distillery partnerships for charity, leading with the Black Bowmore Cabinet in Hong Kong next Spring”.
Edited by Lisa Maria River
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