Last October’s deadly wildfires in the United States ravaged 160,000 acres of northern California wine country – tragically 42 people lost their lives in Napa and Sonoma, plus 100,000 were displaced as thousands of homes were destroyed. Extraordinarily, the devastation of the wooded hillsides saw fewer than 20 of the region’s many wineries badly damaged, but California is still counting the cost. In an online sale of large-format wine direct from Bordeaux, Sotheby’s has teamed up with Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) to raise funds for Community Foundation Sonoma County and Napa Valley Community Foundation. The sale underlines the strong links between Bordeaux and California’s winemaking communities, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to the community groups.
The auction of 75 rare large-format bottles, ranging in price from $50 to more than $6,000, are all offered both without reserve and buyer’s premium. Heading the list of prestigious names is an imperial, a six-bottle size, of the Sauternes First Growth, 2010 Château d’Yquem, with an estimate of $4,000-$8,000, closely followed by a double magnum of 2009 Château Cheval Blanc, estimated to sell for between $3,500 and $7,000.
Coming direct from the cellars of the château that produced them, all the wines boast excellent condition and impeccable provenance. With bidding underway and closing on 30 January, a number of lots, including an imperial of 2009 Château Beychevelle, a double magnum of 2005 Château Léoville Barton and an imperial of 2010 Château Lynch-Bages, have already exceeded their high estimates, so the sale is on course to more than achieve its target.