A s part of Sotheby’s global sale series, The Luxury Edit, spanning Hong Kong, London, Paris and New York, The Next Generation’s Cellar | Treasured French Gems From A New Age Collector presents 506 lots of the most sought-after Burgundy, Champagne and icons from Bordeaux and Rhône. Leading the line-up are the incredible collection of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, a Jeroboam of 2006 DRC La Tâche and an extraordinary full 12-bottle case of 2000 d’Auvenay Meursault Goutte d'Or 2000.
“At Sotheby’s, we have the pleasure of working with the entire cross-section of the world’s collecting community, across all the different categories we represent, from the newest collectors of Sneakers, Wearables and NFTs, to the most longstanding collectors of Old Masters and Contemporary Art. It has been widely publicised that, for Wine & Spirits, 40% of our new buyers in the category are now under the age of 40, but it remains the case that most collections consigned to auction are offered from the cellars of longstanding collectors, who began their wine journeys decades ago. It is therefore very exciting for us to be breaking the mould somewhat, with this sale offered from the cellar of a dynamic Millennial who had the great foresight to begin their wine collecting journey almost as soon as it was legally viable! We are grateful and proud that this next generation collector has chosen to partner with Sotheby’s for the sale of their wine collection; a reflection of our market-leading reach and global success when it comes to engaging with the new generation of collectors, via slick, contemporary marketing and our award-winning online sales platform.”
In recent years, discussions of wine connoisseurship have been buzzing with noise about the rise of wine collectors under the age of 40. While the global pandemic has been credited for catalysing this trend, it’s also naturally a ripe time. Collecting wine is now reaching the next generation who may have grown up with wine connoisseurship in the family, and have reached an age where they are building their own cellar, or simply the investment spirit (and perhaps taste for the finer things in life) of this generation has extended to the world of wine.
Indicative of the changing demographics, among the clientele for wine and spirits at Sotheby’s in 2022, a stellar 30% were under the age of 40, and in what was a record year for the department globally – achieving US$150 million in sales – more than one third (US$54 million) were hailing from Asia where we are witnessing a proliferating thirst for collecting fine wines and spirits. Single-owner collections also shone brightly. Making up nearly half of the 69 separate auctions, the 32 single-owner sales in 2022 collectively achieved US$99 million, a clear demonstration that the taste and connoisseurship of a great collector is highly revered and impactful.
Ahead of the The Next Generation’s Cellar | Treasured French Gems From A New Age Collector, we delve into the collecting journey that amassed this extraordinary line-up.
We would love to know more about your collecting journey. What inspired you and how did you start collecting wines?
Although my first wine was with my friends and maybe at a rather young age, my main influence was from my father. He spent a lot of time educating me on wines and sharing his way of collecting. More importantly, just seeing his passion behind collecting inspired me the most.
Is there something you look for when considering acquiring a wine for your collection? How do you decide?
Like many people, I tend to look for good years that a specific wine maker or region has a strong reputation in. However it’s also important to have fun when collecting, for example the Japanese manga series “The Drops of God” (神の雫, Kami no Shizuku) features 12 wines (dubbed the “Twelve Apostles” wines) which can be seen in the collection too!
Burgundy and Champagne feature prominently in your collection. What do you love about these regions that motivated you to collect extensively and early on in your journey?
I was first introduced to Burgundy by my father, having only been exposed to Bordeaux wines up until then. The unique combination of the fruity and more earthy tones of the Pinot Noir grapes really drew me into collecting it. Furthermore, I love the ability to compare each wine from different vineyards within the same wine producers. For example recently I had the pleasure to try La Romanée and Echezeaux from Liger-Belair, the differences in the two Grand Crus fascinates me, while the vineyards are just next to each other.
Regarding Champagnes, I feel like it goes synonymously with celebrations, collecting Champagnes for me hence was a means to share with friends and family during celebratory occasions and parties.
Tell me about some of your favourite wine producers and what draws you to them.
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair is a favourite. The up and down history of Liger-Belair interests me, from the early 18th century to the revamp in the 2000s. The rarity of some of their wines is also what makes it a good alternative investment.
As mentioned, I’m a fan of both Echezeaux and La Romanée Grand Crus. They are both made from really old Pinot Noir vines – Echezeaux for my palette has an exceptional length and a full-bodied texture which I personally enjoy a lot. For La Romanée, I love the smooth mouthfeel and wonderful blend of complementary notes that are assembled to create a superb finish.
Another standout in your collection is the high proportion of large-format bottles. What do you like about them, and in building your collection did you have a reason to favour them over standard size bottles?
Again, I love the sharing aspect of wines and Champagnes. Larger format bottles are perfect for a lot of celebratory occasions and also adds the “wow" factor in terms of presentation.
What does collecting mean to you?
Collecting brings people together, there are people who collect art, books, watches and cars – anything you can think of. The beauty of collecting (of whatever it may be) is bringing a group of people together. These communities provide a hub for people who share your passion and interests to bond and interact, which I very much enjoy.
More importantly, I collect because of passion. I truly believe that passion and interest are prerequisites for one to grow their collection. In my case, the influence from my father started it and perhaps the thrill in exploring, learning and enjoying these special wines carried it forward.