Time to pop the cork in wine auction world?

Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:19pm EST
 
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - In perhaps another sign of a recovering economy, millions of dollars worth of wines and spirits sold at three different auctions in New York over the weekend.

At Christie's almost $3 million worth of wines and fine spirits went under the hammer, including the 1964 Bowmore Trilogy -- three bottles of single malt Scotch from the distillery on Islay, a Hebridean island off the west coast of Scotland. They fetched $21,600.

"I'm absolutely delighted with the result," said Andrew Rankin, master blender for Bowmore Whisky, after the sale on Saturday.

"When we first did this, back in 1995, the set sold for $150. Now, that set is worth $15,000."

To put that return in perspective, the Dow Jones Industrial average closed at 2,544.80 on December 31 1995. It ended trade on Friday at 10,270.47.

Over at Sotheby's, a selection of wines direct from Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Spain's iconic 145-year-old winery in the north of the country, sold for $1.09 million -- nearly triple its pre-sale estimate of $350,000.

A collection of magnums for each vintage of Vega Sicilia Unico from 1960 through 1995 sold for $102,850 -- five times the pre-sale estimate of $20,000. The winner, identified only as a South American collector, was declared after a spirited bidding battle from contenders in the room, on the telephone, and online.

As one collector, who did not wish to be identified, said: "You're paying not only for the wine here; you're paying for the provenance. It's direct from the winery. It doesn't get any better than that."   Continued...

 
<p>Corks of Chateau Canon red wine (First great wine of Saint Emilion) are stored in a cellar in Saint Emilion, southwestern France, in this November 6, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Files</p>