Press Release

‘No Reserve’ Auction of Wines from the Cellar of Lewis Chester Totals £1.4 Million / $1.7 Million

By Sotheby's
Expansive offering represents a fraction of one of Europe’s most extensive and comprehensive cellars, curated over many years by the collector, fine wine and rare spirits writer, and founder of the ‘Oscars of Fine Wine’: The Golden Vines® Awards

LONDON, 2 JUNE 2023 – Sotheby’s sale of wines from the cellar of Lewis Chester concluded yesterday, having achieved an exceptional total of £1,382,309 / $1,727,886. The ‘No Reserve’ auction attracted more than 15,700 bids and global participation from 35 countries, with all 774 lots going to some 200 buyers across Europe, the US and Asia – 30% of them new to Sotheby’s.

The expansive offering represented a mere fraction of one of Europe’s most extensive and comprehensive cellars, curated over many years by Lewis Chester DipWSET – the extraordinarily determined collector and fine wine and rare spirits writer, and founder of the ‘Oscars of Fine Wine’: The Golden Vines® Awards.

Lewis’ motivation to offer the first tranche of his collection at auction was driven in part by his collection having grown far too big to contemplate consuming it all, and by a desire to provide fellow fine wine devotees the opportunity to acquire superb wines with impeccable provenance. All bottles were purchased either direct from the respective Domaines via allocation or from only the most reputable UK merchant, then carefully cellared in professional temperature-controlled storage.

“We knew that Lewis’s cellar was extraordinary in terms of quality and quantity, as he’s such an ardent, focussed collector. It’s a huge joy to have had such a positive result, and it’s a thrill for the team in London to have brought these wines to the market and to see such magnificent results. The prices provide a strong and positive signpost into the second half of the year, underlining Sotheby’s strength in the marketplace and connection to collectors, both new and existing.”
Gary Owen, Head of Auction Sales, UK, Sotheby’s Wine
“Firstly, a big thank you to the extraordinary team at Sotheby’s Wine who have been a joy to work with, both for this auction and in building our new long-term partnership for the Golden Vines® and Gerard Basset Foundation. It’s been very exciting to see the positive reaction from fine wine lovers globally to the wines being sold in this inaugural auction which reflect my own journey of discovery and love for fine wine.”
Lewis Chester

The Inaugural Selection was dominated by wines from five key regions: Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, Rhône, and Piedmont. Lewis’ meticulous approach to collecting and study of fine wine was reflected in not only the all-star roster of legendary Domaines and Châteaux, but crucially also in the strict prevalence of lauded vintages from all of the represented appellations.

Burgundy led the charge, and the selection was fittingly typified by apex Domaines: Rousseau, Roumier, de Vogüé, Leflaive, and Ponsot, to name but a few. Venturing north to Champagne, the monumental houses of Krug and Dom Pérignon were represented by a staggering range of cuvées, vintages and large formats. First Growths Lafite, Latour, and Margaux plus Haut-Brion Blanc flew the flag for the Left Bank in Bordeaux, with the Right Bank supplying rare double-magnums of Le Pin and magnums of Lafleur. The consignment also included wines from the Loire and Mosel valleys, Tuscany, Switzerland, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Full results of The Cellar of Lewis Chester | The Inaugural Selection | No Reserve available here.

Liquid Icons and The Golden Vines® Awards

“Our partnership with Lewis will continue this year with October’s Golden Vines weekend in Paris. Inspirational gala dinners, luxurious lunches and exceptional masterclasses await those who join us as we raise money exclusively for The Gérard Basset Foundation to fund educational programmes on diversity and inclusivity in the wine.”
Amayès Aouli, Sotheby’s Head of Wine, Europe

Earlier this year, Sotheby’s Wine announced a new multi-year partnership with The Golden Vines® Awards and the Gérard Basset Foundation. Sotheby’s will conduct the Golden Vines® Live Auction which raises money exclusively for the Foundation’s work around diversity and inclusivity in the wine, spirits and hospitality sector, during the Golden Vines® Dress to Party Charity Gala on Friday 13 October 2023 at Pavillons de Bercy in Paris.

Liquid Icons was founded by two friends, Gérard Basset OBE MW MS and Lewis Chester DipWSET. When Gérard discovered that he had terminal cancer, the need to create something lasting and emphatic that would help create a lasting legacy for Gérard’s incredible achievements became a singular goal for the company. In 2018, The Global Fine Wine Report was born which, since Gérard’s death in January 2019, has become known as The Gérard Basset Global Fine Wine Report. Uniquely, the Report – a free publication – is based on a detailed survey that is completed by leading fine wine professionals globally: Masters of Wine (MW), Master Sommeliers (MS), sommeliers, wine brokers and merchants, wine press and other members of the fine wine industry.

In the summer of 2020, Lewis had the idea of taking the ‘Winners in the Report’ and creating the ‘Oscars of Fine Wine’, to be known as The Golden Vines Awards. These awards would help elevate the fine wine industry by creating a world-class event that would celebrate the very best from the world of fine wine. At the same time, in order to enhance Gérard’s lasting legacy, Lewis and Nina Basset (Gérard’s widow) agreed to create a charity in Gerard’s name: the Gérard Basset Foundation (the Foundation). The Golden Vines Awards would be run as a not-for-profit, with all profits from the event and related charity auctions going to the Foundation.

Sotheby’s Communications Department
London | +44 (0)20 7293 6000 | Matthew Floris |
Hong Kong | +852 2822 8129 | Nancy Wong |
New York | +1 212 606 7176 | Zoe Malliaros |

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