Press Release

Sotheby’s Annual Wine & Spirits Auction Sales Hit Record $132 Million

By Sotheby's
- 44% Increase on 2020 -

NEW YORK, 20 December 2021 – Sotheby’s Wine’s annual auction sales of wines and spirits reached record heights in 2021, led by a 44% increase in sales to a total of $132 million.

Looking back on the historic year, Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, said: “2021 will be remembered as a transformative year in Sotheby’s wine and spirits business, where we repeatedly broke records in all areas of our business and launched new initiatives and partnerships across all categories and geographies. Our highest ever sales total of $132 million included market leadership in Asia with $67 million, standout growth in both spirits and wine, and a slew of record prices for both wines and whiskies. We launched our sales in Continental Europe and our first sale of Tea in Hong Kong. But, perhaps the most significant development of this year was our inaugural sales and partnerships with the Hospices de Beaune and The Distillers’ Charity, where we worked together with the négociants in Burgundy and the distilleries in Scotland to raise important funds to benefit their local communities.”

Facts & Figures

By region: Asia: $67 million; USA: $26 million; UK: $21 million; France: $18 million 

By category: Wine $111 million, Spirits $21 million

Volume of sales increases: Sotheby’s staged 51 sales in the categories this year, 24% up on 2020

19 single owner sales, with an aggregate total of $75 million, 57% of the combined total 

Asia powers the market, with sales in the region accounting for 51% of global total, placing Sotheby’s in market leadership position in the region for fourth consecutive year

Bidders from 56 countries (38% Americas, 37% Asia, 25% Europe)

Buyers from 52 countries:
Buyers from Asia accounted for 57% of auction sales (58% for Wine, 52% for Spirits)
Buyers from the Americas accounted for 20% of auction sales (20% for Wine, 20% for Spirits)
Buyers from Europe accounted for 23% of auction sales (22% for Wine, 28% for Spirits)

New buyers of wine and spirits made up 40% of the total number of buyers

One third of bidders on wine and spirits under 40 years of age

The number of first-time bidders of spirits saw a more than four-fold increase on 2020, with collectors from North America accounting for 45% of the total amount bid by collectors new to the category

Over $20 million in auction sales for charity partnerships

Lots sold: 14,150

Moving Sotheby’s centre of gravity to stage auctions and experiences beyond the traditional saleroom centres

“These new partnerships enable us to work in a much closer way across the entire wine and spirits industries, which provides greater opportunity and benefit to everyone, from the producers and their communities to consumers all around the world. We look forward to expanding this series in 2022, starting with our innovative new partnership with the Napa Valley Vintners, as well as additional charitable organisations that will be announced early in the New Year.” – Jamie Ritchie

In 2021, Sotheby’s made a significant commitment to work together with charitable organisations, uniting collectors with special opportunities to acquire rare wines and whiskies, while benefiting the communities of each region:

Sotheby’s partnered with the Hospices de Beaune for the first time. The 161st edition of the charity wine auction on 21 November brought $14.2 million. In addition, the legendary Charity Barrel realised a record $900,000, bringing the grand total raised for charity to $15.3 million

Records also tumbled at the inaugural charity Scotch whisky auction – ‘The Distillers One of One’ – near Edinburgh on 3 December, with an auction totalling $4.1 million, and $2.7 million raised for charity

Looking forward, as auction partners to Napa Valley Vintners, Sotheby’s will, for the first time, partner with a wine region to help connect wine consumers, collectors and connoisseurs to its wines. More details to follow

The Launch of Sotheby’s Wines & Spirits Sales in France

France became the fourth major international hub for Sotheby’s regular series of wine and spirits auctions, with the property for these sales located in both Beaune and Bordeaux, the two most important trading centres for the wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux

The inaugural wine sale in France (2 November) – a private collection of exceptional wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – was 100% sold, achieving a double-estimate total of $1.5 million

For the first time ever, on the occasion of this year’s artist label reveal, Château Mouton Rothschild teamed up with Sotheby’s for an exceptional online auction of a single lot of the 2019 vintage (see below)

Wine

Direct-from-Winery Sales:

Château Mouton Rothschild unveiled the label for its 2019 vintage, illustrated by Olafur Eliasson, and offered through Sotheby’s a single lot of Château Mouton Rothschild 2019 sold to benefit the Bergonié Foundation. An exclusive double magnum with label signed by the artist and the family, six bottles, three magnums, an Imperial and the only Nebuchadnezzar released on the market to date, realised $182,525 (December, France)

Sotheby’s sale of wines from two historic châteaux in Bordeaux – Château Rauzan-Ségla on the Left Bank and Château Canon on the Right Bank, both owned by CHANEL – achieved a total of $2 million and marked the first time that wines from two properties carrying a Grand Cru and Premier Cru classification were offered in a dedicated auction (October, London)

Outstanding single-owner collections were led by:

Asia: The Ultimate European Cellar from a Visionary Collector ($15.7 million); The Art of Living: Legendary Wines from the Cellar of Pierre Chen ($15 million); Wines from the Cellar of Joseph Lau Part II ($6.8 million)

New York: Legendary Vintages: An Important American Cellar ($5.1 million); A Private Single-Owner Collection of Important Champagne and Burgundy, Part III ($1.8 million)

Spirits

The year saw several partnerships with leading distilleries:

Sotheby’s X The Worshipful Company of Distillers and the Scotch Whisky Industry, for the first Distillers One of One auction – records for Bowmore, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Ladyburn, and Talisker, and more ($4.1 million total, more than double the low estimate; December, Edinburgh)

Sotheby’s X The Macallan: A one-of-a-kind original bottle of 1967 whisky from The Macallan’s Anecdotes of Ages Collection with label artwork by Sir Peter Blake, sold for $437,500 (March, New York)

Sotheby’s X Bowmore: The Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet – the complete Black Bowmore single malt whisky collection direct from the Bowmore distillery – sold for $563,000 (April, Hong Kong)

Sotheby’s X Gordon & MacPhail: Auction record for a bottle of the world’s oldest single malt Scotch whisky – designed by architect and designer Sir David Adjaye OBE, Decanter #1 of Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80-Years-Old sold for $193,000 (October, Hong Kong)

Sotheby’s X The Dalmore: Auction record for The Dalmore – a one-of-a-kind set of six vintage single malts direct from the distillery, sold for $1.1 million, establishing the most valuable whisky lot sold by Sotheby’s in Asia (October, Hong Kong)

Sotheby’s X Diageo: Set #1 of the second release of Prima & Ultima, Diageo’s collectable series of rare, cask-strength single vintage malts containing eight whiskies from across Scotland, was offered exclusively through Sotheby's directly from Diageo (September, Hong Kong)

A single-owner auction, Whisky & Whiskey | The Three Continents Collection, forming Part 1 of the largest collection of spirits by bottle count ever to be offered by Sotheby’s, totalled an above estimate $2.3 million and with 80% of the lots achieving prices above their high estimates (December, New York)

Further standout results

24 Bottles of Kweichow Moutai "Sun Flower" 1974 sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby's in London, establishing the highest price achieved at auction for a single lot of Moutai – China's most famous spirit – outside China (June)

Diversification

In Hong Kong, Sotheby’s launched its first tea auction, presenting some of the world’s most treasured Puerh to cater to an ever-growing market demand and the diversifying taste of today’s collectors and tea drinkers; total $525K (December)

Sotheby’s Wine Retail

Sotheby’s Own Label Collection expanded with the addition of six new wines, increasing its existing 13-bottle selection to 19 bottles, available via the brand’s flagship retail store in New York

Looking ahead to 2022

“As wine regions and distilleries are increasingly looking for global reach and recognition, we will see a rise in on-site auctions and events enhanced with state-of-the-art digital experiences.”Jamie Ritchie

Sotheby’s will conduct in-person and online auctions for the Napa Valley Vintners throughout 2022, including the Napa Valley Library Wine Auction and Premiere Napa Valley in February

Sotheby’s will hold its inaugural sale of Spirits in France from 12 – 21 January

More than 10 single owner sales are already scheduled

Top Lots in 2021

SPIRITS

Glenfiddich The 1950s Collection, sold for $1.4 million

“Sun Flower” Kweichow Moutai in Original Wooden Crate 1974, sold for $1.4 million

The Dalmore Decades No. 6 Collection, sold for $1.1 million

Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978 + Artwork by Callum Innes, sold for $831,780

Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet Direct From Bowmore, sold for $563,000

Bowmore Onyx 51 Year Old 1970, sold for $532,340

Yamazaki 55 Year Old, sold for $525,000

Karuizawa 52 Year Old Strong Eagle Cask #5627 1960, sold for $495,200

The Macallan 1967 Anecdotes of Ages Collection “A New Era Of Advertising”, with Sir Peter Blake Print and Exclusive Experience, sold for $437,500

The Balvenie 56 Year Old 1964, sold for $232,900

Glenlivet Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80 Year Old 44.9 abv 1940 + Exclusive Experience, sold for $193,000

WINE

Pièce des Présidents – Corton Renardes Grand Cru, sold for $900,000

Romanée Conti 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (9 bottles), sold for $450,590

Romanée Conti 2000 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (1 Methuselah), sold for $404,600

Vosne Romanée, Cros Parantoux 1989 Henri Jayer (6 Magnums), sold for $386,520

Vosne Romanée, Cros Parantoux 1990 Henri Jayer (6 Magnums), sold for $354,310

Vosne Romanée, Cros Parantoux 1999 Henri Jayer (12 bottles), sold for $354,310

Romanée Conti 1971 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (12 bottles), sold for $305,070

Vosne Romanée, Cros Parantoux 1995 Henri Jayer (12 bottles), sold for $289,010

Musigny 1990 Domaine Leroy (12 bottles), sold for $289,010

Vosne Romanée, Cros Parantoux 1995 Henri Jayer (12 bottles), sold for $289,010

CONTACTS:

Sotheby’s Press Office

London | +44 (0)20 7293 6000 | Matthew Floris | Matthew.Floris@Sothebys.com

Paris | +33 1 53 05 53 66 | Sophie Dufresne | Sophie.Dufresne@Sothebys.com

New York | +1 212 606 7176 | Derek Parsons | Derek.Parsons@Sothebys.com

Hong Kong | +852 2822 8129 | Nancy Wong | Nancy.Wong@Sothebys.com

About Sotheby’s Wine

Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access, connoisseurship and preservation of fine art and rare objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 50 categories, which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Interiors, among many others.

Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide auction sales of wine and spirits hit a record $132 million in 2021, a 44% increase on 2020. Sotheby’s Wine currently holds the world records for any whisky collection ever sold at auction, any private wine collection ever sold at auction, the most valuable bottle of wine ever sold at auction and the most valuable bottle of spirits ever sold at auction.

In addition to auction, Sotheby’s Wine launched a retail business in 2010. With a retail store located in Sotheby’s New York headquarters and e-commerce at www.sothebyswine.com, Sotheby’s Wine offers a carefully curated selection of wines from the world’s most prestigious producers and important regions. Expertly assembled by our experienced specialists, the selection is built upon lasting relationships with winemakers from across the globe, with bottles that are ready for immediate consumption, in addition to investment-worthy wines from highly sought-after vintages. A second retail location opened in Sotheby’s Hong Kong galleries in 2014.

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* Estimates do not include buyer's premium or overhead premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer's premium and overhead premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.

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