Chinese buyer snaps up wine collection for $165,000 -Sotheby's

Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:41pm EST

Nov 26 (Reuters) - A buyer in mainland China has forked over $165,000 to buy Sotheby's collection of 100 original wooden cases of the Californian wine Opus One, a favorite of deep-pocketed connoisseurs, the auction house said on Tuesday.

"We are shipping it to Asia," Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby's head of wines in North America, said on Tuesday. He thought the collection, which consists of nine different vintages of Opus One, could easily arrive in time for the Chinese New Year, which is on Jan. 31.

Ritchie said the idea for the unusual sale occurred when an unnamed seller came into auction house's wine store and asked if it was interested in selling the Bordeaux-style blend, the result of a 1979 joint venture between California's Robert Mondavi and France's Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.

The 600-bottle collection went on sale for five days only from Nov. 11 through Nov. 15. If it hadn't sold, then Sotheby's store would have offered up the cases individually, Ritchie said.

There were other bidders - one from the United States and another from India - but the buyer from mainland China was the first to deliver the sum.

"One person did offer a lower number, but it was declined," Ritchie said, adding he was "always looking to do more sales like this, though I don't think there's much chance of another Opus One."

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