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on 05/10/10 at 1:13 pm

BoozeBlog, Wine

There’s buying wine, and then there’s buying wine. Like a valuable commodity. I mean, if you can trade pork bellies

The Spectrum Wine Auction last Friday, September 24th at the posh Beverly Hills Peninsula Hotel was an education on the current state of high-stakes wine purchasing.  99.8% of all the lots sold. What is a wine lot? Sam Dependahl of Jarvis Communications explains: “Typically about 12 bottles. One large format. Usually, the original case, never left the cellar. You don’t want things scraped together.”

Purchasers hooked up to cells, laptops, satellite dishes, EKG machines all huddled in the ball room of the Peninsula, intent on making sure their bosses got the best of the goods. Speculation drives the market, and the market is only getting better, despite our current recession. The average price for a bottle of 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild has appreciated in value by over 1000% since the year 2000 (according to Wine Spectator), the average price for 2Q 2010 was $3,704 for a 750ml bottle).

In fact, wine importing in Hong Kong alone has gone up 41% since last year. That’s why this particular sale event had Hong Kong on the sweet-sweet hookup, with another roomful of people sitting in the penthouse of the Hong Kong Peninsula. Some of the wines up for sale included: Screaming Eagle, Chateau Montelena’s (which were also being served at the Peninsula auction gratis) and 1 bottle of Madeira circa 1790-1800 from a shipwreck off the U.S. coast of Georgia that went for $4,182.50 (pre-sale estimate: $1,200). Even venerable Sotheby’s has decided to enter the fray, and will soon be auctioning off some Lafites spanning vintages from 1869 to 2008, all direct from the chateau.

A more than 200-yr-old bottle of Madeira. It's one of two bottles recovered by divers in 1979 from a shipwreck off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Source: Spectrum Wine Auctions

Another Spectrum sale is set for December 3rd at the Peninsula Hotel in the Belvedere Restaurant. Since there’s no charge to get in the room for bidding – come down and BUY!  BUY! BUY! No wait, SELL! SELL! SELL!

~ by Boozenews reporter D.R. Stewart