Acker et al auction in Hong Kong: Got a few million to spare?

By Jim Boyce

If you enjoy wine and have some spare change, you might want to head to Hong Kong tomorrow for the first Asian auction held by American firm Acker Merrall & Condit (Asia). Says the company in its sizable catalog, “we expect a tremendous turnout for what will be the largest wine auction in the history of Asia, 922 lots and potentially $50 million Hong Kong dollars!”

I enjoyed flipping through the 248-page, A4-sized tome – though I still hear echoes of its carbon footprint – and reading about everything from an imperial of Chateau d’Yquem (USD3500-4500) to a methusaleh of Dom Perignon 1995 (USD8000-12000), from a dozen bottles of Haut-Brion 1989 (USD15000-20000) to a jeroboam of Latour 1961 (USD40000-60000) and a double-magnum of Mouton-Rothschild 1945 (USD30000-50000).

I also enjoyed the detailed description of the wine bottle and the distinctions of a top shoulder, very high shoulder, high shoulder, and high to mid shoulder as well as of a corroded, cracked, cut, nicked, wrinkled, and waxed capsule (it reminded me of the evaluative terms used by stamp collectors).

It is interesting to see Acker et al position itself vis-a-vis its Atlantic rivals. Writes President John Kapon:

I also know that much of Hong Kong’s wine history is rooted in London, which has long been a great sources of supply for all of the world, but for the past two decades much of the world’s finest wines have also come to America, often directly from Europe as well, to serious collectors who care about their wine and provenance as much as anyone else in the world.

After stating that he is one of only two experts “that have the authority to accept certain brands (such as Petrus, Lafleur, Romanee-Conti, etc) and older wine altogether”, Kapon adds, “There is a reason that America has supplanted London as the capital of the wine auction world, and there is a reason that Acker Merrall is the premiere wine auction house in America.”

Take that, Brits!

Note: Kapon also states, “When I toured all of Asia in August of 2007, I fell in love with the region, the cultural diversity and the sheer energy of the growing economy.” An entire continent in a month or less – that’s some itinerary.

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