Bonhams Wine Report 2011

Bonhams Wine Department finished 2011 with its highest ever London sale total of £966,000 on 1st December and a year on year increase in sales of over 40% for the second year running. Allied to a similar increase in sales in the US, Bonhams Wine Department internationally achieved a sales total of $17 million in 2011.

Highlights in London have been the £126,500 achieved for a case of Romanee Conti 1990 in September and £74,750 made for single cases of Romanee Conti 1988, sold in July, September and December. These latter prices show that Burgundy, notably Romanee Conti, has held its price level in the second half of the year, whilst top Bordeaux and particularly Chateau Lafite Rothschild has fallen away; the 1982 vintage made over £39,000 a case in February but had fallen to £28,750 by December. However, we were pleased to achieve £46,000 for a case of Petrus 1982 on 1st December, above the £43,700 the same wine made in July.

The other interesting development in 2011 has been the internationalisation of the wine auction market. Five of the six top lots in our November Hong Kong auction were bought by a European buyer, whilst the major buyer in our London sale the following week was from the Far East. Hong Kong is no longer achieving a premium over London for top wines; in December, 1988 Romanee Conti sold for approximately £10,000 a case more with Bonhams in London than in Hong Kong (and £10,000 more than elsewhere in London!).

The other notable development in the latter part of the year has been an increased interest in vintage and prestige blends of Cognac, with prices often well above high estimate; a bottle of 1812 Denis Mounie sold for over £5,000 in October.

Irrespective of the political and financial uncertainties around the world, Bonhams have every reason to be optimistic for 2012.

Bonhams next wine sale will be held on the 9th February 2012.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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