A bottle of rare champagne fetched 164,560 Hong Kong dollars (21,097 U.S. dollars) at a wine auction on Saturday, setting a new world record for the price of any bottle of champagne sold at an auction.
The auction realized an impressive total of 35 million HK dollars (4.5 million U.S. dollars) with 96 percent of the over 1, 000 lots sold to buyers from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, as well as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, among others.
A superlot of 132 bottles of Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache from vintages between 1985 and 2003 went for 1.89 million HK dollars (0.24 million U.S. dollars), in line with previous estimates between 1.6 million and 2.4 million HK dollars.
More than 1,000 bottles of rare champagnes from the collection of Robert Rosania also attracted enormous interests, with a bottle of 1928 Krug collection vintage fetching 164,560 HK dollars after several rounds of fierce bidding.
The auction house, the United States-based Acker Merrall & Condit, said it was satisfied with auction results.
"The sale clearly underlined the continuing strong interest in Hong Kong for the finest and rarest wines. The market has stabilized in 2009," said John Kapon, president and auction director of the family firm that has been in the market since 1820.
"Our client base is growing rapidly with the majority from Hong Kong," he said, adding that there were also customers from the Chinese mainland, Japan, Korea, etc.
Acker Merrall & Condit is the market leader in the United States. It is now operating in both New York and Hong Kong. Saturday's auction was the third by the company in Hong Kong since last May, when the company set the record for any wine auction in Asia by fetching 64 million HK dollars (8.2 million U.S. dollars).
Hong Kong announced a duty scrap on wine and beer last February, leading to high expectations by the wine industry and a potential boom of the wine market.
Sotheby's also recently announced that it will hold its first wine sale in early April in Hong Kong and offer over 5,100 bottles of wine. (7.8 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollar).
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2009)