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Wine Spectator: Worldwide Wine Auction Revenues Down Sharply In 2012

January 16, 2013

Wine Spectator reports that sales of fine and rare wine worldwide fell 19% in value from a record $478 million in 2011 to $389 million in 2012, according to figures released by the major commercial auction houses. This is the first decline since 2009, when markets were still struggling to emerge from the global financial crisis. This year, falling prices and fewer consignments in Hong Kong accounted for the slump in sales.

“Worldwide totals for 2012 are a reflection of the drop in prices overall, particularly for Château Lafite Rothschild and other first-growth Bordeaux, especially those from younger vintages,” said Richard Harvey, senior international director of Bonhams’ wine department.

In the United States, auction revenues dropped 10% to $131.8 million. Though the number of lots on the block in 2012 actually rose to 46,457 from 42,705 in 2011, the average price per lot in 2012 was $2,792, down from $3,428 the previous year. Percent-sold rates averaged 95%.

Results in Hong Kong were similar, with sale totals down 32% to $155.2 million. There, the number of lots on offer in 2012 fell to 24,353 from 27,818 in 2011, and the average price per lot tumbled from $8,227 to $6,226. Percent-sold rates averaged 93%.

Asian buying was less dominant this year, noted Jamie Ritchie, president of Sotheby’s Wine. “However, there was renewed interest from North American buyers, who reengaged at new price levels, and a considerable surge in demand from Latin American buyers, who have become an important part of the international market,” Ritchie said. “We saw growing interest in a more diverse range of wines, particularly from Italy and California. Bordeaux prices stabilized at more realistic prices and look set to remain that way.”

For Wine Spectator’s full report on the global wine auction market, click here.

 

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