Deep-pocketed Asian buyers now make up 65% of the total wine and spirits buyers in the world in 2020, based on Sotheby’s newly released 2020 Wine & Spirits Market Report.
Despite the pandemic, demand from Asia was bullish and remained unabated. The percentage of Asian buyers was the second highest on record after 2019’s 68%, thanks to the auction house’s nimble adaption to online auctions.
Sotheby’s last year auctioned off US$92 million worth of wines and spirits, with US$35 million coming from 20 online auctions.
Among all the Asian buyers, Hong Kong reclaimed its historic position in the Asian market at 59%, ahead of Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.
In terms of bidding, what got all the collectors vying for is none other than Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The storied Burgundian estate retained its top spot in the annual producer rankings for the 8th consecutive year, achieving sales greater than the next six producers combined. Sales totaled US$19.4 million, compared to US$7.2 million in 2013.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s share represents 20% of all wine sales and 48% of all Burgundy sales.
Behind DRC, The Macallan came in second, followed by Petrus, The Dalmore, Jean Louis Chave, Henri Jayer, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite, Domaine Leroy and Haut-Brion.
Demand from buyers in the US were softer last year, largely as a result of Trump administration’s 25% tariffs on French wines.
Spirits continues to be an increasingly important secondary market, growing from 1% of sale share to 19% over just four years, says the auction house, driven by strong interest in Asia.
According to the auction house, Asian buyers now make up 80% of its global spirits sales.
A bottle of Japanese Whisky, Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask, was sold in London for $435,273 last year, setting a new world record.