'99, a very good year: Fergie's wine sale rakes in over €2.5 million in Hong Kong

The ex-Manchester united boss included six bottles of a 1999 vintage among the lots sold by auction.

File photo of Ferguson with some cheap and cheerful numbers from the club shop.
File photo of Ferguson with some cheap and cheerful numbers from the club shop.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A SINGLE BOTTLE of wine belonging to legendary former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson sold for more than HK$1 million Saturday at a Hong Kong auction, part of a global 5,000 bottle sale.

Today’s sale at Christies Hong Kong saw around 90 percent of 257 lots sold for a total of almost HK$30 million (€2.8 million), the auction house said. The firm’s pre-sale estimate for the Hong Kong sale was between HK$26 million and HK$32 million.

The top lot, a six-litre bottle of 1997 Domaine de la Romanee Conti, including a card signed “Best Wishes, Alex Ferguson” sold for HK$1,225,000 (€115,892), 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 told AFP.

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

Six bottles of the same wine from 1999 were sold at HK$1.1 million (€104,067) 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.

The London portion of the auction will see 140 lots go on sale on June 5, and 85 lots will go on sale online from June 9 to 23.

Fiery red

Ferguson retired last year after guiding Manchester United through its most succesful period, winning 2 European Cups, 12 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 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.

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“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.

Hong Kong, which abolished duties on wine imports in 2008, has become a gateway to the booming wine market in mainland China. In recent years, the city overtook New York to become the world’s biggest wine auction hub.

 © AFP, 2014

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