Sotheby’s 2008 Worldwide Wine Sales Sotheby’s International Wine Department ended 2008 with a worldwide sales total of
$44,625,346 (£24,513,523), the third highest ever, and the second highest since 1999.
Hong Kong and Macau in 2008, Asian buyers increased their share of wine sales from 9.5% in 2006 to 16% this past year. South American buyers also became more prominent, and today represent 3% of wine sales in London, up from 0.5% in 2006. The U.K. market continues to provide a vibrant buyer base, increasing from 47% to 63% over the past two years. And in value terms, North America now represents only 4% of buyers, a drop from 7% in 2006, no doubt influenced by the strength of the pound against the dollar throughout 2007-2008.
Stephen Mould, Head of Sotheby’s European Wine department, said: “This has been an extraordinary year for the London Wine Department. We realised £12.1 million, a 17% increase on our total sales for last year and our second highest total ever, confirming
our position as the leading auction house for wine in the UK. There has been a great mix of sales with 10 various owner and 3 single owner sales. The most outstanding lot was the 70 Vintage Vertical of Château d’Yquem, comprising 136 bottles direct from the Château, which achieved our highest ever total for a lot in London (April 16). Then, one of the finest collections to come to
auction at Sotheby’s from one of Europe’s greatest cellars - A Superb Private Collection - totalled £1.6 million and was our third highest total for a single owner collection (September 24). The sale was 99% sold and featured many gems from Bordeaux including top vintages of First Growths, stunning Pétrus and Burgundy, including Meo-Camuzet in large formats. We were also privileged to offer a collection of wine direct from the cellars of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande which was 100% sold, demonstrating that historic bottles of impeccable provenance are always in demand (November 12). Other notable collections included Champagne from a European Michelin-starred restaurant, with bidders clamouring for Krug dating back to the 1940s and doubling their high estimates in many instances (December 9 & 10). We have seen an increase this year of Asian clients partly driven by the cancellation of duty in Hong Kong and Macau and the excellent provenance of the wines offered this year. Auction prices have tailed off towards the end of the year and 2009 will favour the genuine wine lover who will be able to afford some of those gems which have seen stratospheric increases and may have been out of reach in recent years.”
Serena Sutcliffe, MW, Head of Sotheby’s International Wine department, said: “Our buyers in our two centres of wine, London and New York, are truly global, drawing in every continent in the world. There are differences between these two centres in terms of what our clients buy, partly a reflection of what our vendors tend to collect in their cellars. As we start 2009, it will be interesting to see if the low value of the £ is an attraction. We have had a successful year and look forward to building