Fine wine news roundup: 25 April – 1 May



Zachys announces virtual fine wine auction in Hong Kong

New York auction house Zachys will host a virtual sale of more than 400 lots of fine and rare wines in Hong Kong on 8th May.

The sale, named The Ruby Collection Part IV, has a pre-sale estimate of HK$21 million, and boasts a variety of First Growth Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgundy and vintage Champagne.

Particular Bordeaux highlights will include Cheval Blanc 1982, Haut Brion 1989, Latour 1982 and Chateau Le Pin 1982-2004, as well as magnums of Chateau Margaux 1961 and Mouton Rothschild 1961.

From Burgundy, bidders can expect DRC Romanee-Conti 1971 and 1978, as well as DRC’s Romanee-St-Vivant, Richebourg and La Tache. The very rare Domaine Leroy Richebourg 1997 and Maison Leroy Ruchottes-Chambertin 1985 will also be on offer, along with three magnums of Roumier Bonnes Mares 1999 and five bottles of Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 2012.

Champagne, meanwhile, will be represented by the likes of Dom Perignon, Cristal, Krug, Bollinger and Salon. Live bidding kicks off at 6.30pm Hong Kong time, broadcast direct from Zachys’ website.


Bonhams presents fine and rare wine sale in May

Also in auction news for Hong Kong, Bonhams has announced plans to hold a sale of fine wine and whiskies on 16th May.

The majority of lots will be given to world-renowned Japanese whisky distilleries such as Yamazaki, Hanyu, Chichibu and Hakushu. However, there will also be a good selection of fine wines on offer.

Highlights will include a 1998-2009 vertical of Domaine Armand Rousseau, a magnum of Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Eiswein 2016 and bottles of Chateau d'Yquem in six-litre format spanning three decades from the 1980s to the 2000s.

The sale is planned to be conducted live behind closed doors. Bids will be accepted in the following formats: online, on the telephone with a member of client services, or by leaving an absentee bid.


Wine exports set to resume from South Africa

Following a turbulent month for the South African wine industry, government officials have announced that the ban on exports of wine imposed during lockdown will be lifted as the country relaxes its pandemic measures.

On April 7th the industry was initially granted permission for wine to be considered an allowable fresh produce products for export, but was told just a week later that exports of wine and spirits would ultimately be banned during the lockdown period.

According to Wines of South Africa (WoSA), the five-week ban could be responsible for an export revenue loss of more than R1 billion (£43 million).

Siobhan Thompson, CEO of WoSA, said: “We are grateful to President Ramaphosa and the relevant government departments for the confirmation and providing certainty, and as such we endeavour to be responsible in our actions and messaging to ensure the safety of our people.

“As an industry we remain fully committed to implementing a safety protocol, which will effectively address transmission risks across our value chain. The safety of our workforce, customers and consumers are of utmost concern to our industry.”


UK sales of Rias Baixas skyrocket

Sales of wines from Spain’s Rias Baixas soared by 42% last year compared to 2018, according to figures from DO Rias Baixas.

In total, Brits enjoyed some two million litres of Rías Baixas Albariño last year, representing 25% of all exports worldwide. This makes the UK one of the top performing markets for the DO.

Speaking to Harpers, DO president Juan Gil de Araújo said it was “excellent to see the success of our wines in the UK market,” adding that he believes the region “offers a delicious alternative to the more well-known international varieties” and that this uptick proves that Spain can produce exquisite white wines.

The small region primarily consists of small farmers, with around 20,000 vineyards and more than 6,500 growers spread across just 4,000 hectares.


Asia’s fine wine market is booming again

The Asian fine wine market is going from strength to strength according to new data from Sotheby’s.

The auction house has revealed that buyers from Asia bought 66% of its lots last year – the highest total since the 2013 – while nine of the top 10 lots of 2019 were purchased by buyers in Asia.

The region’s attention has primarily focused on Burgundy, which has seen continued growth in recent times. Adam Bilbey, head of Sotheby’s wine in Asia, commented: “Burgundy has increased in market share for Southeast Asian buyers who continue to expand their palates and buy into top Burgundy wines. There are also collectors who capitalized on the price appreciation of Burgundy, which has increased its supply over the past two years and fuelled the growth in market share.”

While Hong Kong has traditionally been Asia’s busiest market, 2019 saw increased activity from a number of other areas, including Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti has continued to prove popular with the market, solely responsible for more than $27 million worth of sales for Sotheby’s in 2019. Other top performers include Domaine Coche Dury vintage and Armand Rousseau, as well as Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux.


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