Some of the most pedigreed Bordeaux bottles from the personal cellars of Prince Robert of Luxembourg, his family and his friends will be on offer in an unprecedented sale on May 21 in New York at Sotheby’s. The proceeds are going to benefit The PolG Foundation, a United States Public Charity, dedicated to finding a cure for PolG-related mitochondrial disorders , a disease that has tormented the prince’s youngest son.
Founded by the prince and his family, the mission of The PolG Foundation is to support and accelerate research in order to find effective treatments and a cure for PolG-related mitochondrial disorders.
The story of the foundation starts with the journey of one family and more particularly, one young man, Frederik, the youngest son of Prince Robert and Princess Julie. Having faced fear, sadness and grief, the family, inspired by Frederik’s example of sheer determination, perseverance and his naturally cheerful disposition, have set out to find a cure for a devastating disease.
The sale will bring together wines from top-tier Châteaux, including Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion. Both are owned by the prince’s family company, Domaine Clarence Dillon, of which the prince serves as the Chairman and CEO.
In addition, the sale will also feature d’Yquem, Cheval Blanc, Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Lynch Bages, Palmer, Ausone and Petrus. With approximately 4,000 bottles already consigned, and more to come, the aim is to raise as much as possible to support the charity.
Prince Robert de Luxembourg said: “Our world was turned upside down over five years ago with the diagnosis of our dear Frederik with PolG. Since then, while facing the most basic challenges of keeping Frederik alive, we have been aided by so many “angels” the world over who have rather miraculously come into our lives. We have reached out to the amazing global medical community and somewhat unwittingly have become a research hub for this not so rare disease. I am thrilled to empty my cellar for this highly personal cause in order to help Frederik and so many like him. My family are so touched by all of the people that are joining us through their guidance and donations in finding a cure for and promoting awareness of this devastating mitochondrial disease.”
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, said: “We are delighted to work together with HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg, and his family and friends, to present this auction in order to raise important funds which will be dedicated to finding effective treatments and a cure for PolG-related mitochondrial disorders.”
“The centrepiece features bottles from 1906 to 2018 that come directly from Prince Robert’s personal cellar, with the bottles always having been stored at the family cellar at Château Haut-Brion. Naturally, the wines from two of the family’s vineyards, Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, make up an important component with a significant number of large format bottles, as well as a treasure trove of magnums of the magnificent and very rare white wines from these two storied properties. For anyone who would like to donate rare wines or exclusive experiences to help raise funds through this auction, The PolG Foundation will continue accepting donations through the end of February.”
Frederik was fourteen years of age in 2016 when he was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy, in turn causing organ dysfunction and failure. Of all the mitochondrial diseases, the adolescent onset of PolG-related disorders is among the cruelest.
With no effective treatments to date and no cure, the family decided to concentrate all of their efforts on finding treatments and ultimately a cure, for people like Frederik, who suffer from PolG-related disorders.
Raised in Luxembourg and educated in England, Prince Robert may have been destined from a young age to run the family wine business, Domaine Clarence Dillon, which owns Château Haut-Brion, Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Château Quintus and Clarendelle.
The company also owns a two Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant Le Clarence and a fine wine shop, La Cave du Château.