Designation for the auction of products or goods of all kinds to the highest bidder. Auctions have always been considered a special kind of Weinhandels common. Already in the antique Rome were special wines like the famous Falernian auctioned. In the Middle Ages it became apparent that the buyers also traveled to the producers to meet their needs locally. Until the 17th century, the wines were auctioned mainly in barrels, until the bottling prevailed in bottles. Especially the Bordeaux wine trade with the main buyer England was leading. In Germany it became customary in the 18th century to auction certain wines.
The center of the worldwide auction of wines and spirits has always been London. The biggest and most important auction houses are today Christie's in London (1759) and Sotheby's in New York (1744). Both were founded in London, the headquarters of Sotheby's is now New York. Smaller houses in England are Bonhams, Bigwood and Straker-Chadwick. A wine trading house specializing in old wines Antique Wine Company (London). In France, the auction house Artcurial, headquartered in Paris, also specializes in old wines. In the US, Sotheby's is one of the major auction houses Butterfield & Butterfield (San Francisco), Chicago Wine Company and Zachys (New York). Over time, not only a market for collectors and enthusiasts, but also for wealthy investors for capital investment has developed.
Often, auctions are for a charitable purpose, the most famous and oldest is the Burgundian one Hospices de Beaune, which has been taking place annually since 1443. Other similar events include the Hospices de Nuits in Burgundian, organized according to this model Nuits-Saint-Georges, as well as the "Nederburg Wine Auction" 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 younger date (10, 20, 30, 40 and sometimes more years), prices up to three, sometimes four-digit dollar / euro range are expected and are also offered or paid. With these wines one can assume also from perfect condition. This is also promised at auctions or covered by insurance.
A very common practice in auctions is to put together certain items (so-called Lots ) to auction together. This can be finds (for example from sunken ships), crates or collections. In 1997 Christie's made 600 bottles Château Mouton-Rothschild Auctioned $ 420,000 in 1982 ($ 15,000), $ 700 per bottle. In 2006, this year's 600 bottles were again auctioned off by Sotheby's, yielding $ 1,051,600 for a bottle price of $ 1,753 for the now 24-year-old Wine yielded - so already more than twice as much.
In early 2004, 245,700 dollars were offered in New York by an anonymous collector for a lot of exclusive Bordeaux wines. For this he was awarded the contract for 33 Impériale bottles (à 6 l) from the year 1982, including wines from the top wineries Château Ausone. Château Cheval Blanc. Château Lafite-Rothschild. Château Latour. Château Margaux. Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Pétrus, The most extensive lot was a collection of 70 bottles Château d'Yquem the years 1858 to 2001 (intermittently), for which in October 2007 at Zachys $ 2,013,540 were bid in New York. That gives an average price of $ 28,765. Highest prices for old champagne from shipwrecks were for products of the brands Heidsieck Monopole and Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin achieved (see in detail at the brands).
Very popular with collectors are outstanding, old vintages, where 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, so to speak, paid for. 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, sold by Christie's in 1985 for $ 160,000. The from the estate of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) originating bottle went to the US publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990). Finally, this record holder was outbid. The auction house Sotheby's Hong Kong auctioned in October 2010 in five-star hotel "Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong" among other things, three bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild in 1869 for each 1.8 million Hong Kong dollars. That was $ 232,692. The buyer was a telephone company from Asia. Wines totaling $ 8.4 million, with an initial estimate of $ 2.5 million, were sold at this auction.
Auctions are by no means limited to such rarities, but there is also a trade in young wines. However, this usually only applies to wines of absolute top quality. Red wines from the Bordeaux make up about 60% of the share, with quality standards still the famous Bordeaux classification 1855 serves. Furthermore, they are frequently 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. The auctions are mostly auctioneers as representatives of the seller.
The auctioning practices are different. at Sotheby's The original wooden boxes are not opened when Christie's not only with young wines. Both houses have many advance offers before the auction. These can then be outbid at the event, of course. About two-thirds of the wines are sold in the sales room. Mostly a bid is made on a dozen bottles. Also at different wine Events often auctions take place. Collections or finds are mostly considered solder (Lots) auctioned. Well-known collectors and organizers of tastings of 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 the subscription (Pre-sale).