Fine wine auctions in Hong Kong is booming and the recent Christie’s International Hong Kong wine auction saw over 800 lots of Burgundy from a single owned collection fetch a handsome HK$48 million which is close to $6.2 million. The successful wine sale shows the strength of the wine market there as it was almost double of the pre sale estimate of HK$29 million. The collection was offered by Henry Tang who missed becoming the Chief Executive of Hong Kong because of the controversy created by the discovery of an illegal wine cellar at his house. The most expensive lot consisted of six magnums of Romanee Conti Domaine de la Romanee Conti 1995 which recorded the winning bid of HK$1.2 million.
Hong Kong: World’s Largest Fine Wine Auction Market
Simon Tam, head of wine for China at Christie’s was thrilled with the success of the auction and pointed out that the lots that were offered for auction formed only a small portion of Tang’s Burgundy collection. Tang is a true connoisseur of fine wine and has spent 30 years on what he calls a journey of discovery. He, undoubtedly has one of the most extensive wine collections in Hong Kong. During his tenure as Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary, Tang pushed for the dropping of wine import duties in 2008. The result was that Hong Kong naturally grew into the world’s largest rare and fine-wine auction market.
Growth of Luxury Market in China, Driving Demand for Fine Wines
The growth of luxury market in China has fuelled the demand of fine wines in the region. There is investor interest particularly in rare burgundies which is pushing the prices up and has made Henry Tang’s collection invaluable. Mr. Tang was at the center of a controversy last year when a 2,200 square foot basement built in his home in the up market Kowloon Tong district was declared illegal. The local press had reported that the basement contained a wine cellar, tasting room, a movie theater and gym. Tang claimed at the time that his wife Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, was responsible for the construction of the basement and he couldn’t intervene as they were going through a strained marital relations. There is a court case now being conducted against his wife.