Robb Report Vices

The Premier League of Wine

In November 1986, Alex Ferguson was appointed the manager of Manchester United—one of England’s Premier League professional soccer teams—a position that he held for the next 25 years. During that time, his team won two European Cups, 12 Premier League titles, and 13 other championships. It was, without question, the most decorated and successful chapter in Manchester United’s history. Almost a third of the way through his tenure as manager, Ferguson was introduced to wine collecting, which became an immediate escape and a significant contributor to his future success on the field. “Taking an interest in wine allowed me to have an interest outside the game,” he explains. “You have to have outside interest to distract you away from the intensity and the pressure you come under as a football manager.”

Since his retirement last year, Ferguson has devoted more time to wine, and that increased involvement in the hobby made him realize that it was a good time to sell some of the contents of his cellar. Through Christie’s, about 5,000 bottles from Ferguson’s personal collection have been offered for sale. On May 24, 257 lots were sold in Hong Kong, with a methuselah (a large-format bottle equal to eight standard bottles) of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1997 Grand Cru topping the sale at $158,690. On June 5 in London, 140 lots were auctioned off, including a dozen bottles of Château Pétrus 1996, which sold for $24,543. Finally, 85 lots are currently being offered via an online auction that will run through June 23. Noteworthy lots include 12 bottles of Château Pétrus 1999 (estimate: $25,000), three bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1992 (estimate: $6,000), and 12 bottles of Sassicaia 2004 (estimate: $1,100). To bid on any of the 85 lots currently for sale, click here.