In Cognito at Christie’s

This week, I did it.  I put on my oversize, wannabe-Dior sunglasses, a gorgeous floor-length coat, and walked into Christie’s Auction House like I owned it.  The wine auction was right up the stairs (“Well, of course it is,” I thought.) And then, sparkling glass of Krug in hand, I proceeded to watch people spend more money than I’ve seen in my life on single bottles of the “Finest and Rarest” French goodness.

It was awesome.

After entering the room, I think my chic facade fairly vanished as my gaze moved from the Krug bar setup (You can’t be parched while bidding of course) , to the auctioneer on his pedastal (looking like  God) and his less friendly minions controlling Christie’s online bidding (do they get Krug too?)

I hadn’t known Christie’s was doing quite so well, but in 2010 the giant’s wine department netted an impressive global total of $71,200,000/₤45,800,000/€53,600,000.

What I hadn’t taken into account were the taxes, shipping, and comission fees associated with bidders’ prices (you’d think that for $$$ they could pay UPS). That $13,000 case of Châteaux Lafite Rothschild just got a lot more expensive.

Essentially I learned wine auctions can be a great time, ideal for people watching and happy hour when you don’t have much else to do, or want to see what’s in style with the Euro-chic, slicked-back hair crowd.  Try it out sometime.  (And don’t worry, the auctioneer will not think you’re bidding if you wave to a friend or nod…..though I was worried the whole time.)

Also, calling anyone with a Napoleon complex–auctioneering could be for you! You get a big pedestal, and even tall people have to reach really high to hand you your complimentary glass of champagne (so yes, you do get to drink at work).

Christie’s Wine Uncorked

Fun Facts: For the 12 bottles of Romanée Conti that went for $45,000 on Wednesday you could have bought 3,750 boxes of Franzia Chardonnay (not that you’d want to);  A Mercedes Benz C-350 Coupe; or about 1 year of school at a private college.

Hong Kong is the largest growing city for wine auctions, in 2010 Sotheby’s made $52,618,399 there.

How-To: Christie’s, Zachys, and Sotheby’s all list their auctions online, and all are open to the public–so pick a day, put on some nice shoes and go for it!

Laura Loves: The plethora of Euro-chic men in suits.

Prices listed in 10 currencies.

The bartender who said, “And how many lots did you win this evening Miss?”

The modern gavel used by the auctioneer–why hadn’t anyone thought of getting rid of the handle before?

Look Out for: Names like Château Lafite-RothschildChâteau LatourChâteau Mouton-Rothschild,Château Margaux and Château Haut-BrionChâteau Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone, andChâteau Pétrus and Château Le Pin in Pomerol. (AKA the Best in Show when it comes to French wines…you probably can’t afford them, but you can at least sound cool talking about them.)


  • January 29, 2012
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