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Apple Daily
Article Date: October 10, 2008

News headlines of recent days (not even weeks) tell of uncertainties gripping global economies. Investors’ spirits are set on a roller coaster ride that parallels the undulating curve of the world market. An October 10th news flash in the Apple Daily (Hong Kong based newspaper), however, came as a booster shot for those whose confidence in the wine market wavered with the financial crisis:
Stock & Property Markets Submerged Under Financial Tsunami

Fine Wine Auction Remains Prosperous

Long Live Red Wine
Newspaper Clip

For the benefit of non-Chinese/Cantonese readers, the article related how prices of wine as luxury goods remained unaffected by the global crisis, even when Hong Kong’s stock and property markets have taken a huge blow. A fine wine auction held on 9th October 2008 in Hong Kong fetched a gleaming HKD 12.5 million (approx. S$2.3 million) in sales, hammer rate as high as 82%.

487 items were put up on sale at the auction, 80% being red wines. Stars of the sale were top grade and/or rare French wines including some 1985 Burgundies and 2 bottles of Henri Jayer 1988. Other items on sale include a small number of white wines, Champagne and New World wines.

Results of the sale are in tandem with the promising results of previous month’s auction in Chicago whereby 1,746 items were sold. In Hong Kong, 400 out of the 487 items that went under the hammer were successfully sold, fetching a total of HKD 12.5 million. The auction commenced at 4pm Hong Kong time and lasted until midnight and attracted some 600 buyers in total, 240 pre-registered in advance.

Most items were sold within estimated values. Chateau Le Pin 2001 and Chateau Mouton Rothschild were sold at HKD 113,000 and HKD 130,000 respectively, some 20% to 30% higher than the estimated price of HKD 93,600.

Wine Bottles 12 bottles of Chateau Petrus 2000 fetched the highest price of HKD 357,000; followed by La Tache 1985 and Romanée Conti 2005 going at HKD 267,750 each.

Two insert stories both highlighted that serious collectors see the economic downturn as a great opportunity to acquire fine wines in view of the fact that some collectors are more willing to part with their cellar for cash returns. Buyers are nonetheless more cautious but there was no drop wine prices despite the global crisis.

It was also highlighted that demand for fine and rare wines in China and Asia on the whole soared in recent years due to growing affluence in the region and the strong purchasing power of Chinese and Asian collectors/buyers. Thus ensures that the wine market remains strong.

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