Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

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A. Bocchino
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Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#1 Post by A. Bocchino » March 11th, 2019, 12:33 pm

Does anyone know anything about the 'Transcendent' auction at Sotheby's March 29-31 in Hong Kong? Supposed to be the largest single collector auction ever, @17,000 bottles total. There are almost 4,000 bottles of Coche alone.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#2 Post by Bdklein » March 11th, 2019, 12:54 pm

Google and Sotheby’s website are your friend .
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#3 Post by Jay Miller » March 11th, 2019, 12:54 pm

They sent me a huge catalog full of very expensive wines. Took me forever to get the wire coil out so I could recycle the pages.

I paged through it over dinner and decided it was out of my league.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#4 Post by Jay Miller » March 11th, 2019, 12:57 pm

Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#5 Post by A. Bocchino » March 11th, 2019, 1:12 pm

I am curious about the legitimacy of the wines. It's hard not to be suspicious of 4,000 bottle of Coche from a single collector. And that is one example among many. There are also 238 bottles of 1978 Jaboulet La Chapelle.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#6 Post by Jay Miller » March 11th, 2019, 1:30 pm

My understanding is that Sotheby's does some of the best vetting in the wine auction arena as Maureen Downey works with them. I don't know for sure that she is still involved but I know she was a few years ago.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#7 Post by Tom Reddick » March 11th, 2019, 8:59 pm

With or without outside help, Sotheby's has- in my opinion- the absolute best track record over time for vetting of anyone. So that, combined with the fact I think I might know who this is (and no- I am not saying), gives me every confidence the collection is legitimate.

The real takeaway from this is that collections of this size (and there are several out there) are why pricing at the very top levels has gone so crazy. New entrants certainly have had their impact, but it does not take many major collectors to really drive the price of rare top wines.

This is not a criticism or complaint- merely a point of explanation. A few decades ago, it would not have been very difficult to assemble a collection of this size (or much larger- I see no evidence this is a sale of the entire collection), and such collections were quite common. Then for a period of time it got more difficult. But now, with enormous interest in wine combined with enormous wealth accumulations- these mega-cellars are becoming more common again, but with a much greater impact on market prices because general demand is also higher.

It is very much like something I have observed in the Texas housing market of late. In Houston, Austin and Dallas- prices have generally skyrocketed in the past 15-20 years. For a long time- reaching far prior to this period of prosperity- the norm in really high end neighborhoods was for smaller houses to be replaced with larger ones on an existing plot, and often for existing plots of land to be split to build 2 or more homes. Of late, I have noticed a number of situations where multiple plots are being bought and assembled into single plots like one might have expected 30-50 years ago with homes of unprecedented scale.

These are the times when wine and real estate markets get very interesting indeed.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#8 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 12th, 2019, 8:32 am

I stopped dealing with Sotheby’s five years ago. They are fine before the sale, but impossible after it. At one point, paperwork had to be done in three stages, they almost never had product there when it was supposed to be picked up.

The final straw was when I tried to re-register on line, on the day of an auction. Apparently it would take 48 hours to be approved, because I seem to remember they had just installed a new system. I wanted to buy five lots, so called to see if I could telephone bid or put in absentee bids. Absentee bids were fine, telephone bids were full. By the time, someone answered the phone in the absentee department, it was too late, but I managed to pick up one lot that failed to sell, and my high bid would have secured three more (although i could have been outbid). No other auction house treats it’s customers in so cavalier fashion; I have bought since then in a limited fashion, and usually through a third party.

One time in London, they had some interesting old Bordeaux, so asked a merchant to bid for me and take an extra 10%. He didn’t want the 10%, but after being at Sotheby’s and trying to register my bids, he was told that they couldn’t accept them, and he needed to fax or e mail, he realized why I was paying him extra. He faxed, apparently they never received it. My bids were considerably higher than the hammer, again I got one lot in the after sale. Now there could have been a snafu with the fax, but given their past record, I am inclined to believe the merchant. And then of course, trying to get the wine out of them to ship here was every bit as hard as it is in NY.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#9 Post by John Morris » March 12th, 2019, 8:45 am

According to the catalog, the "Transcendent" collector is a relatively young, fifth-generation real estate investor who also collects homes, cars and boats and is present at large wine events. He readjusts his cellar periodically, selling 10,000 bottles every ten years or so (how young can he be?). (My apologies if this triggers your gag reaction.)

Seems like it shouldn't be too hard for someone in the trade to figure out who this is. (Double click on the image to make it readable.)
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#10 Post by Ken Strauss » March 12th, 2019, 9:09 am

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 8:45 am
According to the catalog, the "Transcendent" collector is a relatively young, fifth-generation real estate investor who also collects homes, cars and boats and is present at large wine events. He readjusts his cellar periodically, selling 10,000 bottles every ten years or so (how young can he be?). (My apologies if this triggers your gag reaction.)

Seems like it shouldn't be too hard for someone in the trade to figure out who this is. (Double click on the image to make it readable.)
4000 Coche-Dury for sale but still enough to fulfill his daily habit!
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#11 Post by Peter Chiu » March 12th, 2019, 9:13 am

Thanks....John.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#12 Post by John Morris » March 12th, 2019, 9:18 am

Ken Strauss wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 9:09 am
John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 8:45 am
According to the catalog, the "Transcendent" collector is a relatively young, fifth-generation real estate investor who also collects homes, cars and boats and is present at large wine events. He readjusts his cellar periodically, selling 10,000 bottles every ten years or so (how young can he be?). (My apologies if this triggers your gag reaction.)

Seems like it shouldn't be too hard for someone in the trade to figure out who this is. (Double click on the image to make it readable.)
4000 Coche-Dury for sale but still enough to fulfill his daily habit!
Or maybe he decided he didn't like the wines and is replacing the Coche with Aubert.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#13 Post by Robert Dentice » March 12th, 2019, 9:21 am

VERY Happy that a collector of this magnitude has no Riesling unless he/she was smart and kept all of that to drink!

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#14 Post by Anton D » March 12th, 2019, 9:58 am

It's moments like this that remind me I am a "single A" minor league wino, at best.

This transcendent collector, major league. Wow! For me, "readjusting" my cellar is buying a different case of wine for a party.

AAA level: the more familiar notable wine collectors. We think of them as major league until we learn about these "transcendent" guys who do 10,000 bottle readjustments.

AA level: the "ballas," who can sniff a bottle here and there that a higher level wino may toss off. A DRC now and again. Maybe even an SQN or other more highly allocated wine list membership. Snipes K & L auctions.

A level: "Oh, boy, I got a bottle of a First growth's second label!" [cheers.gif]

Amateur: Enjoys a glass now and then, has a pyramid shaped ten bottle wrought iron "wine storage" rack he keeps on his kitchen counter.

Civilian: Civilians! Buys wines with bar codes on the back label.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#15 Post by John Morris » March 12th, 2019, 10:11 am

What's striking to me reading the list of producers in the catalog (pp. 16-17) is how impersonal it is. There's not a hint of anything reflecting the owner's own idiosyncratic tastes. The list looks like it was compiled by a consultant recommending good investment wines. Not that these aren't wonderful wines, but it is really is a very generic list.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#16 Post by Anton D » March 12th, 2019, 10:13 am

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:11 am
What's striking to me reading the list of producers in the catalog (pp. 16-17) is how impersonal it is. There's not a hint of anything reflecting the owner's own idiosyncratic tastes. The list looks like it was compiled by a consultant recommending good investment wines. Not that these aren't wonderful wines, but it is really is a very generic list.
Like reading a Wine Spectator review of a high end tasting!

You are dead on in your description.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#17 Post by John Morris » March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am

It's like a home decorated by a stager.
"The Internet has resulted in an exponential increase in the number of instances in which humor must be explained." - me, 2019

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#18 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » March 12th, 2019, 10:24 am

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am
It's like a home decorated by a stager.
Those tend to sell very well.

As to Sotheby's and Mark's comments, I do not bid with them, but I am told they have made efforts in recent years to improve the online system and their bidding/buying service in general.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#19 Post by Chris Blum » March 12th, 2019, 10:26 am

So, the Transcendent Collector comes back every 10 years in search of balance?

I think I might have an ID....
54722D12-C35C-4F92-AD8E-8B9E0C39492F.jpeg
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#20 Post by James Lyon » March 12th, 2019, 10:39 am

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 8:45 am
According to the catalog, the "Transcendent" collector is a relatively young, fifth-generation real estate investor who also collects homes, cars and boats and is present at large wine events. He readjusts his cellar periodically, selling 10,000 bottles every ten years or so (how young can he be?). (My apologies if this triggers your gag reaction.)

Seems like it shouldn't be too hard for someone in the trade to figure out who this is. (Double click on the image to make it readable.)
Per the Transcendent collector's introduction from the auction program, he graduated university in 1993, so probably 48-50 years old.

James

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#21 Post by Robert Dentice » March 12th, 2019, 10:54 am

Anton D wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 9:58 am
It's moments like this that remind me I am a "single A" minor league wino, at best.

This transcendent collector, major league. Wow! For me, "readjusting" my cellar is buying a different case of wine for a party.

AAA level: the more familiar notable wine collectors. We think of them as major league until we learn about these "transcendent" guys who do 10,000 bottle readjustments.
Someone always has more! I also collect records and there is a guy in Brazil that has 5 million records!

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/maga ... cords.html

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#22 Post by Anton D » March 12th, 2019, 11:08 am

Chris Blum wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:26 am
So, the Transcendent Collector comes back every 10 years in search of balance?

I think I might have an ID....

54722D12-C35C-4F92-AD8E-8B9E0C39492F.jpeg
I guess that investment in Nike finally paid off!
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#23 Post by Anton D » March 12th, 2019, 11:12 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:54 am
Anton D wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 9:58 am
It's moments like this that remind me I am a "single A" minor league wino, at best.

This transcendent collector, major league. Wow! For me, "readjusting" my cellar is buying a different case of wine for a party.

AAA level: the more familiar notable wine collectors. We think of them as major league until we learn about these "transcendent" guys who do 10,000 bottle readjustments.
Someone always has more! I also collect records and there is a guy in Brazil that has 5 million records!

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/maga ... cords.html
I am probably only a single A level record collector, as well!

With records, having a curated collection of X may be major league, but 5 million is a junk yard! [wink.gif]

I kid, I've read about him and he seems to want to preserve vinyl for the future.

A non pay wall link: https://thevinylfactory.com/features/in ... o-freitas/

What do you collect?

I have a random "peyote button" approach to record collecting.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#24 Post by John Morris » March 12th, 2019, 11:16 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:24 am
John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am
It's like a home decorated by a stager.
Those tend to sell very well.
I don't doubt that. But they're so sterile. Don't they leave you with a sense of ennui?
"The Internet has resulted in an exponential increase in the number of instances in which humor must be explained." - me, 2019

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#25 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » March 12th, 2019, 11:20 am

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 11:16 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:24 am
John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am
It's like a home decorated by a stager.
Those tend to sell very well.
I don't doubt that. But they're so sterile. Don't they leave you with a sense of ennui?
I can't say I've ever seen one in person, but in my imagination yes, I can see that happening. My tastes are eclectic and I enjoy a sense of whimsy and the dramatic. Lots and lots of people don't. Many people are quite comfortable with blue chip, in wine and furniture.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#26 Post by Mark Y » March 12th, 2019, 11:24 am

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 11:16 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:24 am
John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am
It's like a home decorated by a stager.
Those tend to sell very well.
I don't doubt that. But they're so sterile. Don't they leave you with a sense of ennui?
But I would fill that home with my own furniture. Decoration. Etc. and make it mine. My home.
Similarly. If I got the 4000 btls of coche I would find my own folks to share with and create my own memories. ;)
Y.e.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#27 Post by Anton D » March 12th, 2019, 12:48 pm

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 11:16 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:24 am
John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am
It's like a home decorated by a stager.
Those tend to sell very well.
I don't doubt that. But they're so sterile. Don't they leave you with a sense of ennui?
Image
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#28 Post by Stephen Williams » March 14th, 2019, 3:00 am

I studied the catalogue in some detail. I found it devoid of passion and emotion on behalf of the collector. There were only two or three lots that I’ll bid on.
No, I'm not the guy from AWC !

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#29 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 14th, 2019, 8:20 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:24 am
John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am
It's like a home decorated by a stager.
Those tend to sell very well.

As to Sotheby's and Mark's comments, I do not bid with them, but I am told they have made efforts in recent years to improve the online system and their bidding/buying service in general.
Yes but six times bitten.....and as recently as December.

Will go through a third party, and the going rate is now 15%, but even then, my merchant friend is reluctant. Frankly it should be as easy as Heritage, Zachys etc, not the hassle it is.

I understand from e mails that there are plenty of others who feel the same.
ITB

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#30 Post by Dennis Borczon » March 14th, 2019, 8:32 am

To me, these collectors are what encapsulates everything that is wrong with this hobby. Why billionaires chase million $+ supercars, yachts, Gulfstreams? Those objects are made for people with excessive amounts of money and too much ego. These wines are made to be enjoyed at some point in their life, not bartered. Fine, lots of wine squirreled away and then the game of "keep away" for several years. Cash out in a high profile auction and make more money (yawn). Kind of pathetic really. Enjoy that Coche for breakfast.

Oh spare me the retorts about capitalism, free market, supply/demand blah blah...

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#31 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » March 14th, 2019, 9:13 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 8:20 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:24 am
John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 10:19 am
It's like a home decorated by a stager.
Those tend to sell very well.

As to Sotheby's and Mark's comments, I do not bid with them, but I am told they have made efforts in recent years to improve the online system and their bidding/buying service in general.
Yes but six times bitten.....and as recently as December.

Will go through a third party, and the going rate is now 15%, but even then, my merchant friend is reluctant. Frankly it should be as easy as Heritage, Zachys etc, not the hassle it is.

I understand from e mails that there are plenty of others who feel the same.
Not arguing, I've got no experience or skin in this game, just repeating what I've heard.

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#32 Post by Hank Victor » March 14th, 2019, 10:53 am

Dennis Borczon wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 8:32 am
To me, these collectors are what encapsulates everything that is wrong with this hobby. Why billionaires chase million $+ supercars, yachts, Gulfstreams? Those objects are made for people with excessive amounts of money and too much ego. These wines are made to be enjoyed at some point in their life, not bartered. Fine, lots of wine squirreled away and then the game of "keep away" for several years. Cash out in a high profile auction and make more money (yawn). Kind of pathetic really. Enjoy that Coche for breakfast.

Oh spare me the retorts about capitalism, free market, supply/demand blah blah...
+1

Luckily there is an ocean of enjoyable and high quality wine being produced all over the globe now.
P! - ITB
Take a chance, Columbus did..

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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#33 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » March 14th, 2019, 12:16 pm

So this is the fourth installment in the Divergent series and probably features Johnny Depp...
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#34 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » March 14th, 2019, 12:54 pm

Dennis Borczon wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 8:32 am
To me, these collectors are what encapsulates everything that is wrong with this hobby. Why billionaires chase million $+ supercars, yachts, Gulfstreams? Those objects are made for people with excessive amounts of money and too much ego. These wines are made to be enjoyed at some point in their life, not bartered. Fine, lots of wine squirreled away and then the game of "keep away" for several years. Cash out in a high profile auction and make more money (yawn). Kind of pathetic really. Enjoy that Coche for breakfast.

Oh spare me the retorts about capitalism, free market, supply/demand blah blah...
Same thing is wrong with art.

I should have several da Vinci's in hanging in my family room. Not some multi billionaire keeping them in storage for ten years and then selling them for a couple of hundred million dollar profit or languishing on a wall in the Louvre.
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Re: Sotheby's 'Transcendent' Auction

#35 Post by Dennis Borczon » March 14th, 2019, 2:47 pm

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 12:54 pm
Dennis Borczon wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 8:32 am
To me, these collectors are what encapsulates everything that is wrong with this hobby. Why billionaires chase million $+ supercars, yachts, Gulfstreams? Those objects are made for people with excessive amounts of money and too much ego. These wines are made to be enjoyed at some point in their life, not bartered. Fine, lots of wine squirreled away and then the game of "keep away" for several years. Cash out in a high profile auction and make more money (yawn). Kind of pathetic really. Enjoy that Coche for breakfast.

Oh spare me the retorts about capitalism, free market, supply/demand blah blah...
Same thing is wrong with art.

I should have several da Vinci's in hanging in my family room. Not some multi billionaire keeping them in storage for ten years and then selling them for a couple of hundred million dollar profit or languishing on a wall in the Louvre.
That Coche would sure look good framed on my wall. I think the next release this collector should buy all of it, the entire production, and hoard it away for future generations. Why should anyone else need to drink it? Must feel good to have all that wine squirreled away where no one can get at it. Man he (I am assuming) must feel really special.

At least in the Louvre we can all appreciate the art. My looking at it is the same experience as the uber wealthy who contribute it. I thank those patrons for preserving and saving the art for everyone to enjoy for the future.

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