Bloomberg is reporting that Pierre Chen, the Taiwanese billionaire and founder of Yageo Group, is auctioning off an exquisite selection of wines from his extensive collection. Sotheby’s will host five dedicated auctions over the next 12 months, starting this fall, where around 25,000 bottles, valued at an estimated $50 million, will be available. This move comes after Chen has already sold $11.4 million worth of wine. The first of these auctions is scheduled for November in Hong Kong. Chen, renowned for his art collection as well, believes in sharing the finer things in life, whether it’s art, food, or wine, emphasizing that they are best when shared.
George Lacey, Sotheby’s head of wine for Asia, disclosed that the bottles in the upcoming auctions represent only a fraction of Chen’s entire collection. The decision to sell arises from Chen’s collection having grown excessively large, surpassing what he, his family, and friends could enjoy. Lacey and his team worked closely with Chen to curate a collection representative of his taste, intending to bring these remarkable wines back to the market. Chen’s passion for sharing is evident in his words, expressing that the wines should be “savored, experienced, loved” and used to “enhance culinary experiences.”
If Chen’s collection sells for its estimate, it will mark one of the most expensive single-owner auctions in recent history. The wines showcased in the auctions are a reflection of Chen’s explorative taste, with a particular inclination towards Burgundy and Champagne. Rare and valuable bottles, such as the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche and the 1982 Château Petrus, are included in the lots. Each auction will have a unique identity, with different auctions focusing exclusively on types like Champagne and Burgundy wines, and the final sale featuring the rarest Bordeaux and most sought-after bottles.
This extensive auction comes at a pivotal time as the secondary wine market is witnessing significant growth, especially at the high end, with a surge in demand from Asia. Despite uncertainties in China’s economy and the luxury goods market, the market for rare and exclusive bottles, like those in Pierre’s collection, remains robust. Chen’s choice to sell is not a reflection of market timing but a realization of possessing more wine than one could consume in a lifetime. He aspires to share the greatest private cellar in the world with wine enthusiasts globally, hoping it will be cherished and relished.
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