Term for the auction of products or goods of all kinds to the highest bidder. Auctions have always been a special kind of Weinhandels common. Already in antique Rome became special wines like the famous one Falernian auctioned. In the Middle Ages it was established that buyers also traveled to the producers to meet their needs on site. Until the 17th century, the wines were mainly auctioned in barrels until bottling became established. Especially the Bordeaux wine trade with the main customer England was the leader. In Germany it became common in the 18th century to auction certain wines.
London has always been the center of the worldwide auction trade for wines and spirits. The largest and most important auction houses are today Christie's in London (1759) and Sotheby's in New York (1744). Both were founded in London, and Sotheby's is now based in New York. Smaller houses in England are Bonhams, Bigwood and Straker-Chadwick. A wine trading company specializing in old wines Antique Wine Company (London). In France, the Artcurial auction house, headquartered in Paris, also specializes in old wines. In the United States, Sotheby's is one of the most important auction houses, Butterfield & Butterfield (San Francisco), Chicago Wine Company and Zachys (New York). Over time, not only has a market developed for collectors and enthusiasts, but also for wealthy investors to invest in.
Auctions are often for a non-profit purpose, the most famous and oldest is the Burgundian one Hospices de Beaune, which has been taking place annually since 1443. Other similar events are the Hospices de Nuits in Burgundy, which was organized along these lines Nuits-Saint-Georges, as well as the "Cape Fine & Rare Wine" at the South African winery Nederburg, In Germany, the auctions of the VDP in the monastery Eberbach as well as the Riesling auction of the Bernkasteler Rings to mention. For wines of a more recent date (10, 20, 30, 40 and sometimes even more years), prices up to three, sometimes even four-digit dollar / euro ranges are to be expected and are also offered or paid for. These wines can also be assumed to be in perfect condition. This is also promised at auctions or covered by insurance.
A very common practice at auctions is to collect items (so-called Lots ) to auction together. This can be found (for example from sunken ships), crates or collections. In 1997, Christie's made 600 bottles Château Mouton-Rothschild In 1982 (15 years old) it was auctioned for $ 420,000, so that was $ 700 per bottle. In 2006, 600 bottles of this vintage were auctioned by Sotheby's again and brought in $ 1,051,600, which was a bottle price of $ 1,753 for the now 24 year old Wine made - more than twice as much.
In early 2004, an anonymous collector in New York offered $ 245,700 for a lot of exclusive Bordeaux wines. He was awarded the contract for 33 Impériale bottles (6 l) from the 1982 vintage, including wines from the top wineries Chateau Ausone. Château Cheval Blanc. Château Lafite-Rothschild. Château Latour. Chateau Margaux. Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Petrus, The most extensive lot was a vintage collection of 70 bottles Château d'Yquem the years 1858 to 2001 (with breaks), for which in October 2007 Zachys were offered in New York for $ 2,013,540. That's an average price of $ 28,765. The highest prices for old champagne from shipwrecks were for branded products Heidsieck Monopole and Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin achieved (see in detail for the brands).
Outstanding old ones are very popular with collectors vintages, especially bottles in large sizes are in demand. It is not always about the drinkability of the wines, because they are often inedible. Rather, history also plays a major role and is paid for, so to speak. These rarities are among the most expensive wines in the world (see the top 20 there). Record holder was a long time Château Lafite-Rothschild 1787, which Christie's sold in 1985 for $ 160,000. The from Thomas' estate Jefferson (1743-1826) bottle came to the US publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990). In the end, this record holder was surpassed. In October 2010 the auction house Sotheby's Hong Kong auctioned three bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1869 in the 5-star hotel “Mandarin Oriental Hongkong” by 1.8 million Hong Kong dollars each. That corresponded to $ 232,692. The buyer was an Asian phone company. The auction sold a total of $ 8.4 million of wine with an initial estimate of $ 2.5 million.
Auctions are by no means limited to such rarities, but there is also a trade in young wines. However, this usually only affects wines of the absolute top quality. Red wines from Bordeaux make up around 60% of the share, with the famous still used as a measure of quality Bordeaux classification 1855 serves. Furthermore, are often represented port wine (Vintage Port) and Madeira (Portugal) and Tokaj (Hungary), as well as top wines from the French areas of Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône and Sauternes, but also wines from Germany and Austria. At auction, auctioneers mostly act as representatives of the seller.
The auction practices are different. at Sotheby's the original wooden boxes are not opened at Christie's only with young wines not. Both houses already have a lot of advance offers before the auction. But these can of course be outbid at the event. Around two thirds of the wines are only sold in the sales room. A bid is usually placed on a dozen bottles. Even with different ones wine Events auctions are often held. Collections or finds are mostly classified as solder (Lot) auctioned. Well-known collectors and organizers of tasting outstanding wines are the German Hardy Rodenstock (1941-2018), the sommelier Christian Vanneque (* 1950) and the industrial manager François Audouze (* 1943). A special form of wine sales is that subscription (Pre-sale).