Wine auctions see booming sales

Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:44pm EDT
 
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - After buoyant wine auctions that saw booming sales, most auctioneers believe the only bubbles in the wine market are in the Champagnes poured during the bidding.

Chicago-based wine merchants Hart Davis Hart reaped $4.9 million at its Lafite auction Saturday, reinforcing its image as the most sought-after, top growth Bordeaux. And on the same day New York's Acker Merrall & Condit sold $2.3 million at its auction.

"I don't see prices going anywhere significantly except up," said John Kapon, its head of auctions.

Both sales were the first to be held after the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. Although Japan is home to many wine collectors, the country is not considered influential in the wine market.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index, which shows the price movement for 100 of the most coveted wines, confirms what auctioneers are seeing -- all signs are pointing up. The index rose 41 percent year-on-year to the end of February.

So far in 2011, leading wine auction house have sold more than $46 million of wine.

Kapon dismissed any comparison of the wine market to the housing bubble that helped spark the worldwide economic recession.

"Nobody is making more of this stuff ... and it's getting consumed every week. Somebody is drinking this and who knows how many bottles every week are getting consumed," he said.   Continued...

 
<p>The auctioneer's hammer of Dominique Giafferi is seen during a vintage wine auction from the grand cellar of Paris City Hall at the Credit Municipal in Paris, October 20, 2006. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>