This month, for the first time, Cartier will open the doors to its private wine cellar – a 2,000-strong cache of French vintages, ranging from a 1916 Sauternes to rare Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Chambertin Clos de Bèze – as part of an auction benefiting the Cartier Philanthropy foundation. On Wednesday March 20, select bottles from the collection will be up for grabs as part of the Sotheby’s Finest & Rarest Wines auction, taking place at its New Bond Street headquarters in London.
The Cartier collection was started decades ago by the maison’s former chairman Alain Dominique Perrin. However, the jeweller-watchmaker’s connection with the world of fine wines goes back to its beginnings. Early on it acquired the iconic Château d’Yquem 1847 (setting a record at the time for the highest price paid for one tonneau), which happens to be the same year that the maison was founded. Later in its history, Cartier created a tastevin bordelais in solid silver and tricolour gold, engraved with the city of Bordeaux’s coat of arms, which was presented by the French prime minister and mayor of Bordeaux Jacques Chaban-Delmas to Queen Elizabeth II in 1992.
The 250 Cartier auction lots range from remarkable Bordeaux vintages, such as Latour 1916 (£1,500-£2,000 for three bottles; £1,300-£1,600 for four bottles) and 1929 (£3,000-£4,000 for two bottles) and 1916 Château d’Yquem Sauternes (£5,000-£6,000 for five bottles), to, among the Burgundies, La Tâche 2006 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (£19,000-£24,000 for nine bottles). Each bottle will bear a certification of provenance.
All proceeds from the sale – Sotheby’s estimates the total could reach around £250,000 – will be donated to the Cartier Philanthropy foundation, which since 2012 has been supporting international NGOs, social entrepreneurs and United Nations agencies to improve the livelihoods of the most vulnerable, particularly women and children in the world’s least developed regions.