Global credit crisis puts damper on wine prices
By Leslie Gevirtz
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Floodwaters from the global credit crisis have seeped onto the top deck of the wine business.
Domaine Romanee Conti (DRC) 1990, which commanded more than $20,000 a bottle just a little more than year ago, sold on Saturday for $6,500 - a 67.5 percent drop in price.
Auction house Hart Davis Hart admitted that the price was at the low end of its estimates.
"We definitely saw some conservative prices," Paul Hart, the auction house's president and chief executive officer, said after the sale in Chicago.
The scenario is being repeated at other wine auctions throughout the country.
"The price of wine, particularly at the higher end, has gone through a two-year period of unprecedented increases. Not surprisingly, we now see a period of price adjustments," said Jamie Ritchie, head of Sotheby's Wines North America.
Auction houses tout their sales by the percentage of lots sold. In the spring Christies, Sotheby's, Zachy's, and Hart Davis Hart all boasted sell throughs of well over 90 percent.
A Hart Davis Hart auction in September of a single collector had a 100 percent sell through. The total from the sale of 1,746 lots of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Petrus, and DRC was almost $11.2 million, nearly $1 million above the top estimate. Continued...