Investing in fine wine

On March 20th a wine sale held by Christie’s, a British auction house, featured so many lots that the voluble auctioneer lost count at number 36. “Thanks for keeping me on my toes,” he told the observant attendee who had noted his error. That hiccup aside, the auction was a success. Nine out of ten lots found a buyer. The most valuable—a 12-bottle case of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1988, from Burgundy—fetched £232,750 ($305,135). The entire sale raked in £1.3m.

Yet the room itself was almost empty: fewer than 20 people watched on as the sale reached its climax. Instead many offers came from remote bidders, with a small army of Christie’s staff acting as conduits. Screens converted sterling bids into American and Hong Kong dollars for the benefit of this far-flung audience. A third of lots attracted online interest, with bidders spread over five continents. Tim Triptree, Christie’s’ international wine director, says 41% of new clients are drawn in via the internet. That means a different, younger crowd: 61% of the company’s wine buyers are aged between 35 and 55.

Source: Investing in fine wine