Ferguson's wines sell for almost $3.9m

Updated: 2014-05-26 07:14

By Agence France-Presse in Hong Kong (China Daily)

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Wines from legendary former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson's private collection sold for almost HK$30 million ($3.87 million ) at an auction in Hong Kong on Saturday, with a single bottle purchased for more than HK$1million.

The wines being auctioned-about 5,000 from his collection-are worth an estimated ($5 million in total, and are being sold in London, Hong Kong, and online.

The auctions include rare and sought after wines such as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Burgundies, and Finest First Growth Bordeaux from Chateau Petrus and Chateau Lafite, ranging from 1986 to 2011 vintages.

Saturday's sale at Christie's Hong Kong saw about 90 percent of 257 lots sold, the auction house said. The firm's pre-sale estimate was between HK$26 million and HK$32 million.

The top lot, a six-liter bottle of 1997 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, including a card signed "Best Wishes, Alex Ferguson" sold for HK$1,225,000 ($158,001), including buyer's premium, to a bidder in the room.

"We were fortunate in the sense that we had the provenance of Alex Ferguson's name and more importantly, the right wines for the market," Head of Wine for Christie's David Elswood said.

All of the top 10 sales at the auction of Ferguson's wines were for Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Elswood said, adding it is one of the most sought after in the world.

Six bottles of the same wine from 1999 were sold at HK$1.1 million and another lot of six bottles from 1995 were sold at HK$735,000, including the buyer's premium.

"If you could pick out one wine that was in vogue and in fashion, it would be Domaine de la Romanee-Conti," Elswood said.

A London auction will see 140 lots go on sale on June 5, and 85 lots will go on sale online from June 9-23.

Ferguson retired last year after guiding Manchester United through its most succesful period, winning two European Cups, 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Inter-Continental Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup.

The fiery Scot started collecting wine after a visit to France in 1991, and admitted he began the hobby as a distraction from managing one of the world's largest clubs.

"You have to have outside interests to distract you from the intensity and the pressure you come under as a football manager," he explained in a Christie's video promoting the sale.

He said that after retiring last year he felt now was a good time to sell some of the bottles.

Speaking to the UK's Guardian newspaper he said: "In retirement, I now have the time to visit the places and people that will feed my passion, so I felt it made sense to release a large number of the wines I had collected over the years. I hope many will enjoy exploring my collection."

(China Daily 05/26/2014 page23)