Sotheby’s To Bring 25,000 Bottles From Billionaire Pierre Chen’s Grand Wine Collection To Auction

Pierre Chen, founder of the Taipei-based electronic component manufacturer Yageo Corp., is selling 25,000 bottles of fine and rare wines for up to $50 million through a year-long extravaganza of worldwide sales and events beginning in late November at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. 

The Sotheby’s auction will be divided into five separate events, each dedicated to a different region or type of wine, and span from November 2023 to November 2024. The first auction will be in Hong Kong, then Paris, Beaune in the Burgundy region of France and New York before returning to Hong Kong. Titled the “Epicurean’s Atlas,” in reference to Chen’s luxurious tastes in wine, art, food, and music, each of the five auctions representing only a sliver of his cellar will focus on specific wines or themes. According to Nick Pegna, Sotheby’s head of wine and spirits, the collection is full of “extraordinarily rare bottles and mythical vintages.” 

“This is a truly Olympian wine cellar of global significance,” says Serena Sutcliffe, master of wine and honorary chairman of Sotheby’s wine division.

The wine up for auction through Sotheby’s which represents just a fraction of Chen’s full portfolio was acquired over four decades. It is not the first time Sotheby’s has hosted an auction of Chen’s wines. In 2021, the auction house presented “The Art of Living: Legendary Wines from the Cellar of Pierre Chen”, which raked in HK$116 million ($15 million), surpassing the presale estimate of HK$88 million.

The first sale from Chen’s wine cellar is designed to reveal its depth and breadth, and includes several large format bottles of the very best from France’s Burgundy. Examples include: two methuselahs (six-liter bottles) of 1985 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche with estimates between US$120,000 and US$190,000 each; a six-liter imperial of 1982 Petrus with an estimate between US$45,000 and US$65,000; and six magnums of 1988 Dom Perignon Rose P3 for between US$5,000 and US$7,000 each. 

The Hong Kong auction will also include wines from Chen’s vineyard parcel in Burgundy’s Musigny, which are produced in partnership with the Faiveley family. Five rare magnums that Chen receives as his annual “dividend” payment from the winery are included. Magnums of Domaine Faiveley, Musigny Grand Cru from 2015 and 2019, are estimated to achieve between US$13,000 and US$18,000 each, while three magnums from 2016-18, are estimated to achieve between US$11,000 and US$15,000 each, Sotheby’s said. 

The four remaining sales and related events will be held next summer and fall in Paris, Burgundy, New York, and London, with the final sale scheduled for November 2024 in Hong Kong. 

Chen will open his first restaurant, Le Restaurant Blanc, in Paris this month, where wines from his vast cellar will be on the menu. As chief sommelier, he will have a chance to share his approach to appreciating wine.

“To me, wine is the ninth art. It is the only art form one can consume, using senses that other art forms don’t typically involve, such as one’s taste and smell, and it requires creativity on the part of the owner,” he says. “What dishes should I pair this bottle with, and what other bottles should I include in this meal The combination of wine, food and company at any one moment makes each encounter totally unique, but every memory of every encounter brings a smile to my face. I suppose that is the magic of wine to me: the power to relive moments through a single sip.”