An audacious wine auction in Geneva beat expectations Sunday, raking in more than $4 million for a collection of Burgundy (specifically grand crus from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti) fine wines. We admit we were also somewhat negative about this auction, even as we covered it twice (here and here). The second part of the auction saw some 3,000 bottles of Bordeaux grand crus and other items selling for more than $2 million.
In the first part of the sale, there were 1,407 bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti looking for the highest bidder and they did just that, beating all expectations. Altogether, Baghera Wines auction house achieved CHF4.2 million ($4.3 million, 3.8 million euros) here, with a single three-litre jeroboam of 1999 Romanee-Conti snatched up for CHF60,000 by an anonymous buyer.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, which takes its name from its most famous vineyard, is widely considered to be one of the world’s finest wine producers.
“We’re very happy with the results,” the head of the Baghera Wines auction house Michael Ganne told AFP.
Stored in perfect conditions for the past 15 years at the heavily-guarded Geneva Freeports customs-free zone, the bottles belong to a single investor who has asked to remain anonymous.
The collection is “unique” and “historic”, Ganne said ahead of the sale, explaining that it is extremely rare for more than 100 bottles from the prestigious estate to be auctioned at once.
Some 50 people had gathered at the Geneva auction house, but much of the activity happened on the phone or through written orders, mainly from wealthy Asian buyers, Ganne said.
About 85 percent of the bottles presented were snapped up, he said.
Seven grand crus produced between 1952 and 2011 at the producer’s Romanee Conti, La Tache, Richebourg, Romanee-Saint-Vivant, Grands Echezeaux, Echezeaux, and Montrachet vineyards were sold off in 266 batches.
In addition to the jeroboam of 1999 Romanee-Conti, the top lots included 12 bottles of a 1988 Romanee-Conti bought for CHF144,000.
Grand crus – literally ‘great growth’ in French and indicating wine from France’s best vineyards – produced by the tiny Domaine de la Romanee-Conti are so expensive largely because they are so rare.
Only 200 bottles are expected to be made there this year, and more than 100,000 people are on a waiting list to acquire a single bottle, Ganne said.
The second half of Sunday’s auction offered up around 3,000 bottles of grand crus from Bordeaux, as well as American wines, vintage champagne and Cuban cigars, which together sold for CHF2.0 million Swiss francs.