U.S. Wine Auction Prices Drop Slightly In Third Quarter, Wine Spectator ReportsOctober 19, 2011
U.S. wine auction prices were down slightly in the third quarter, according to Wine Spectator, but perhaps most surprising was the fact that they didn’t seem to be heavily impacted by the volatility of the financial markets. The Wine Spectator Auction Index, which tracks wine sales at auctions in the United States,fell from 357.72 points in the second quarter of 2011 to 341.27 in the third quarter, a relatively small decrease of 4.6%. This is the second consecutive quarter that has registered a single-digit percent drop.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the third quarter down 12% and the Nasdaq lost 13%, with a few large drops coinciding with large auctions. For example, the Dow Jones ended the week of September 19 down 6.4%, yet Zachys auctions held on September 22 and 23 posted a 97%-sold rate. Auctioneer Fritz Hatton said, “There is so much money chasing after fine and rare wine that even a 391-point drop in the Dow didn’t deter collectors from bidding competitively.”
Despite the fact that the Dow had fallen 303.7 points the day before the September 10 Sotheby’s sale, the auction was 98% sold, totaling $4.2 million against a presale high estimate of $3.9 million. Jamie Ritchie, president of Sotheby’s wine, said, “We do believe that the current volatile conditions in the financial markets affect whether clients bid and how aggressively they bid. However, we have noticed that day-to-day fluctuations tend not to have very much impact, unless it is a tumultuous drop in a period of relative calm.” Acker Merrall & Condit, whose auction took place the same day as Sotheby’s, was 97% sold.
The third quarter results are dominated by the 12 wine auctions held in September, as only three sales were conducted in July and none in August. Top U.S. earners were Hart Davis Hart with $5.3 million, followed by Zachys at $4.3 million and Sotheby’s at $4.2 million.
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