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Sotheby's Wine's annual sales cross $100 million for the first time
The Macallan 1926 60 Years Old (Sir Peter Blake Label) sold for $843,200, becoming the most expensive spirit sold at auction in North America, and the highest price in Sotheby’s history for a single spirit. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide sales reached an important new milestone in 2018, with sales significantly exceeding $100 million in a single year. Below is a look at some of the highlights of both the auction and retail sales that drove these exceptional results.

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, commented: “2018 has been a record-setting year for Sotheby’s Wine in all areas of our business, and surpassing $100 million is a significant milestone in the growth of our wine and spirits business. We continue to achieve record prices at both auction and retail, as well as present the most important single-cellar collections, tailoring each one to suit the wines in the collection. In addition, we have continued to innovate with the launch of our Wine Advisory Services business and Instant Cellars, and make important developments in the sales of spirits through our new online platform. We are looking forward to 2019, with plans to introduce new features and services, as well as announcing a series of outstanding single owner auctions.”


• In March, Sotheby’s set a world record for any wine sales series when a two-day series of auctions in Hong Kong brought a combined total of HK$228,300,300 / US$29,090,025. Comprising 1,758 lots, The Philanthropist’s Cellar, The Cellar from the Estate of Jerry Perenchio, and Finest & Rarest Wines were 100% sold.

• The Philanthropist’s Cellar – Sotheby’s highest value single-owner wine sale in Asia – totaled HK$127,224,435/ US$16,210,938, with buyers from Asia accounting for 85% of the lots sold. Assembled over three decades by an anonymous Asian collector, this extraordinary collection of mature Bordeaux and Burgundy was sold to benefit charitable causes, with all net proceeds being donated to improved health and education conditions of children and young adults in rural China.

• In October, two exceptional bottles of Romanée Conti DRC 1945 both shattered the previous world auction record for a single bottle of wine of any size when they sold for $558,000 and $496,000, respectively. The wines were offered as part of a 'white-glove' (100% sold) auction of rare Domaine de la Romanée-Conti emerging from the personal cellar of Robert Drouhin, which totaled $7.3 million – more than five times its high estimate.

• The same day, The Macallan 1926 60 Years Old (Sir Peter Blake Label) sold for $843,200, becoming the most expensive spirit sold at auction in North America, and the highest price in Sotheby’s history for a single spirit.


• Sotheby’s Wine Retail also achieved record-breaking results this year, reaching the highest ever sales total in both Hong Kong and New York since the opening of each store location in 2014 and 2010 respectively.

• In Hong Kong this past November, an assortment of seven Methuselahs of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2005 were sold together for HK$11.8 million / US$1.5 million – a record high for a single transaction for the company’s wine retail business worldwide, with a strong year-to-year growth rate of over 30% in Asia.

• Summer 2018 saw the introduction of Instant Cellars in New York and Hong Kong. A seamless way to acquire excellent wines that represent outstanding value, Instant Cellars allows collectors to purchase a curated selection of wines, handpicked by Sotheby's top global specialists, with one click, phone call or email, for delivery in select cities within 24 hours.

In June of this year, Sotheby’s announced the launch of its Wine Advisory Services business in New York. A natural extension of Sotheby’s Wine’s unrivaled expertise in the auction and retail markets, our Wine Advisory team offers collectors of all experience levels the opportunity to build, refine and maintain their personally-tailored wine collection, with the guidance of one of Sotheby's skilled Advisors. Sotheby’s is the first auction house to offer this bespoke service to its clients, with plans to launch additional features as well as a Hong Kong branch in 2019.

Sotheby’s 2018 Wine Market Report, offering in-depth market analysis, will be published in early 2019.

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