Fergie hopes for Asian interest in wine collection

Christie’s will handle sales in Hong Kong, London and online

Employees pose with a bottle of Petrus 1988 wine and a Man Utd Retro Champions League shirt from 1999 signed by Alex Ferguson, at Christie’s auction house in London. PHOTOGRAPH: LUKE MACGREGOR/REUTERS

Employees pose with a bottle of Petrus 1988 wine and a Man Utd Retro Champions League shirt from 1999 signed by Alex Ferguson, at Christie’s auction house in London. PHOTOGRAPH: LUKE MACGREGOR/REUTERS

Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 01:08

He may no longer be the manager of Manchester United, but Alex Ferguson remains an influential figure, not just in soccer, but also, it seems, in the world of vintage wines, where he was known to collect decent vintages to get his mind off the pressures on the pitch.

Now Ferguson is getting ready to sell off part of his private collection in a series of sales by auction house Christie’s in Hong Kong, London and online, and the collection, between May 24th and June 23rd, to be sold in almost 500 lots, is valued at a very drinkable €3.6 million.

Ferguson expects big interest among Asian buyers, who have been snapping up top-flight wines for years and where about 60 per cent of the 500 lots will be go under the hammer on May 24th.

Another third of the cellar will be offered in London in June and about 10 per cent through internet sales later that month.

It’s a couple of years since Hong Kong overtook London and New York as the world’s biggest auction market for top labels such as Château Lafite Rothschild and Domaine Romanée-Conti, after the Hong Kong government slashed the duty on wine from 40 per cent to zero in February 2008.

Most expensive bottles

Demand from China has been driving prices towards the roof, although a recent crackdown on corruption has affected sales and people are being a lot less ostentatious about buying top-end premium wine.

Hong Kong is home to the two most expensive bottles of wine in the world – a pair of 1869 Chateau Lafite worth €162,000 each.

Ferguson’s lots span over a quarter of a century, including six bottles of Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1999 from the year United won the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

Almost 75 per cent of the cellar consists of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, a French Burgundy which Christie’s international director of wine David Elswood said “is probably the wine in vogue, the wine of the moment in terms of demand”.

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