Beijing hosts China's first fine French wine auction 2009-05-30 07:16:08   Print

    BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) -- From famous chateaux ranging from Lafite to Margaux and Mouton, wine lovers had a chance to bid for top French wine in Beijing on Friday at the first wine auction yet on the Chinese mainland.

    Around 1,000 bottles of fine wine from France's renowned Bordeaux area were on auction with a starting price of several hundred to several thousand U.S. dollars, about one third of the market price in China, the Beijing Poly International Auction Co., Ltd. said.

    Ma Zhefei, a Poly staffer in charge of the auction, said that about 94 percent of the wines were sold and over 90 percent of the buyers said they would drink the wines themselves, not for investment.

    The wines were sold at about 70 percent of the market price in China, Ma said. With high wine import taxes, rich Chinese mainland wine lovers sometimes make the purchases in Hong Kong, where the taxes are lower.

    Ma said that all the wines on auction were shipped directly from chateaux in France and are currently stored in Hong Kong.

    The wines were selected by French wine expert Claude Maratier and were appraised at a score higher than 90 on the Robert Parker website, with a third of the wines even appraised at 100, said Ma.

    Maratier appraised the wine at a fine wine auction by Paris's City Hall in 2006, the result of the city's decision to sell some of its cellar. He is also author of wine books "La Cote des Grands Vins de France" and "Le Vin a Travers la Peinture."

    Parker is a renowned American wine valuer, whose rating system is regarded as authoritative.

    At the conclusion of the auction, Maratier told Xinhua that he was "very satisfied" with the result and that he hoped to cooperate more with Poly in such auctions in the future.

    China's rich class, though still a very small portion of the population, are an increasingly large group of fine wine consumers.

    Putting the auction at this time, Ma said Poly made the decision based on solid market research.

    "The demand is there," he told Xinhua. "We would keep organizing such auctions in Poly's future spring and autumn auction seasons."

Editor: Xiong Tong
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