Some truly princely bottles of wine are about to hit the selling block.
Prince Robert of Luxembourg is auctioning off more than 4,200 bottles from his private wine collection for charity at a Sotheby’s sale taking place on May 21. Other than the Hospices de Beaune auction, the wine world’s pre-eminent annual philanthropic sale, these bottles compose the largest quantity and highest value of wines to come directly from château cellars to the auction block for charity.
“This auction combines a selection of very rare wines, that come with impeccable provenance and condition, with the generosity and philanthropy of a dedicated part of the wine community,” Jamie Ritchie, the worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s Wine & Spirits, said in a statement.
In total, the bottles are estimated to bring in about $2.8 million, with individual lot estimates ranging from $150 all the way up to $90,000. The money will be donated to the PolG Foundation, a group created by Prince Robert and his wife June to help find treatments and a cure for mitochondrial diseases.
Some of the standouts that will be on sale from the prince’s collection include historic vintages of Château Haut-Brion, including bottles from more than a century ago (1908, 1918 and 1919). Also featured are the vineyard’s legendary 1924 and 1926 Jeroboams.
“When I first entertained the idea of emptying out my cellar in this rather public fashion, there was not a minute of hesitation from my family,” Prince Robert said in a statement. “Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we have now succeeded in putting together one of the very finest collections of wine that Sotheby’s has ever brought to auction.”
The royal family’s friends and family have also donated to the auction. The board of Domaine Clarence Dillon, the prince’s family wine business, is putting up lots including a Bordeaux experience for six at Domaine Clarence Dillon ($10,000 to $15,000) and rare 12-liter bottles of the exceptional Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion 2009 vintages ($50,000 to $80,000 for each four-bottle lot). If you’re a collector of magnums, more than 1,000 will be available, including some very rare bottles of Haut-Brion Blanc and Laville Haut-Brion.
Happy bidding—and drinking.