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Record-breaking wine auction

The second biggest wine auction of all time took place in Hong Kong on 30 May 2010. Acker Merrall & Condit’s auction of 'The Imperial Cellar' realised an amazing HK$152 million (US$19.5 million). 'The Imperial Cellar' was owned by entrepreneur Eric Greenberg and contained over 19,000 bottles of wine amounting to 1,820 lots, of which 97.3% were sold. Over 400 of Asia’s most serious wine collectors gathered to participate in the bidding joined via internet and phone from absentee bidders from all around the world. New world records were set for the sale of Chateau Margaux, DRC Montrachet and a Henri Jayer, which realized a staggering HK$1,952,000.

This auction once again illustrated the keen demand for fine wines from buyers in Asia and particularly in China. But this sale digs up some controversy surrounding Eric Greenberg known as “The Man with The Golden Cellar” regarding the authenticity of some of his extensive wine collection. In 2007 a Federal Lawsuit was filed against Greenberg regarding some wines sold through Zachy’s to billionaire wine collector William Koch. The question mark was over 11 bottles that Koch had bought. Sotheby’s had originally been approached to carry out the earlier auction but they had rejected the offer – stating that they would only be happy to sell a portion of Greenberg’s wine, highlighting some concerns over authenticity.