Langton’s implemented its online wine auction system in the fourth quarter. Our
investment in the internet has had a profound effect on the culture and nature of
our wine auction business.
In single sweep the playing field has changed and the heart beat of the auction
process has not even murmured. Our existing membership has taken to the new technology
and information-rich site with an unexpected ease. The sheer force of uptake took
us all by surprise. As a result of this response another server was installed to
handle the traffic. Over 75% of our participating buyers are using www.langtons.com.au
to place their bids – a convincing vote that we abandon our live auction format
and concentrate on the electronic future.
The first online sale which closed on October 7th was a great success. The new sale
format has created a completely new bidding environment. Buyers are now employing
a synthesis of live and Silent Bid strategies. Although the auto bid system is central
to winning lots, many members are now enjoying and preferring the chasing game,
often bidding furiously until the final seconds of a sale closing.
A traditional auction format could not handle this level bidding and the prices
achieved are a result of this increased competition. The overall market is very
solid with strong volume of bidding.
Old vintages of Australian wines with historical significance are performing well,
particularly those in outstanding condition. Highlights included 1996 BVE Black
Pepper Shiraz $90.00, 1994 Katnook Estate Odyssey $94.00, 1997 Leeuwin Estate Art
Series Chardonnay $108.00, 1996 Majella Cabernet Sauvignon $52.00, 1994 Moss Wood
Special Reserve Cabernet $115.00, 1996 Mount Mary Pinot Noir $88.00, 1950 Mount
Pleasant Kings Paddock 111 $602.00, 1965 McWilliams Old Hill Hermitage $95.00, 1974
Penfolds St. Henri $69.00, 1981 Penfolds Grange Magnum $1602.00, 1982 Chateau Latour
$1022.00 and1978 Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache $2441.00
Langton’s Sydney online auction closed on October 21st and attracted a similar response.
The catalogue comprised over 2000 lots – a record offering from Sydney – largely
because the time constraints of the Live Auction format. The clearance rate was
outstanding – further illustrating the benefits of the online format.
The cult wine scene attracted a glimmer of interest. 2000 Giaconda Chardonnay $150
Greenock Creek Roennfeldt Road Cabernet Sauvignon $303, 1990 Henschke Hill of Grace
$386.00,1998 Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock $122, 1996 Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon
$67, 1990 Mount Mary Quintet $252, 1952 Penfolds Bin 1 Grange (Clinic) $21951, 1961
Penfolds Bin 49 Grange $3000, 1998 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz $102, 1985 Ch Petrus
(Magnum) $1822 and 1976 Ch d’Yquem $552.
Langton’s Melbourne Online Auction, which closed on November 11 attracted heavy
traffic for imported wines especially recognised Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages.
These wines are becoming more difficult to find and buyers have become increasingly
1998 Pegasus Bay Unfiltered Pinot Noir $68.00, 1989 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
$421.00, 1995 Chateau Leoville Las Cases $342.00, 1990 Armand Rousseau Chambertin
Clos de Beze $624.00, 1997 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Le Montrachet $1033.00, 1989
J.F. Coche Dury Les Rougeots Meursault $325.00, 1990 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage
$404.00, 1990 Chateau Rayas Pignan Chateau-Neuf-du-Pape $290.00, 1999 Tenuta Dell
Ornellaia Ornellaia $227.00 and 1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia $183.00.
Penfolds Grange magnums escalated in value during Langton’s Sydney Online Auction,
many vintages breaking records. Cult wines are performing erratically and only vintages
highly rated by Robert Parker Jr. perform well.
As a result the price differential between vintages is significant. Vendors need
to be realistic about prices – or the wines will not sell. Blue chip Australian
Shiraz continued to perform extremely well. The 1995 and 1997 vintages, however,
continue to experience sluggish demand. Interestingly the 1992 vintage – perceived
as a lesser year – is swinging upwards with increased bidding.
Highlights include 1990 Barossa Valley Estates E&E Black Pepper Shiraz $86,
1996 Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir $471, 1995 Clarendon Hills Astralis Shiraz
$141, 2000 Giaconda Chardonnay (Magnum) $471, 1998 Jim Barry The Armagh $120, 1990
Mosswood Cabernet Sauvignon $146, 1979 Penfolds Grange (Magnum) $3001, 1986 Penfolds
Grange (Magnum) $1701, 1990 Wendouree Shiraz (magnum) $426, 1990 Yeringberg Cabernet
$71, 1989 Ch Haut Brion $1011, 1982 Ch Lafite Rothschild $701, Ch Lafleur $606,
1959 Ch Latour $1602 and 1982 Ch Petrus $2201.
Overall demand ensured a good clearance rate in Langton’s Melbourne Online Auction
– held on December 9th. Volume of bidding continued strongly with a very impressive
flourish of interest towards auction close. The Grange Magnum market – which spiked
in the previous Sydney sale – remained at an all time high despite the relatively
long offering of stock.
Emerging classics such as Bests Thomson Family Shiraz, Clonakilla Shiraz-Viognier
and Domaine A Pinot Noir drew plenty of interest clocking in strong results. The
imported wine market continued in a positive direction.
Highlights included 1999 Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir $204.00, 1996 Bests Thomson
Family Shiraz $99.00, 1997 Clarendon Hills Astralis $192.00, 1994 Clonakilla Shiraz
Viogner $93.00, 1999 Cullen Cabernet Merlot $95.00, 1994 Dalwhinnie Shiraz $73.00,
1998 Domaine A Pinot Noir $52.00, 1990 Hill of Grace Magnum $1021.00, 1995 Houghton
Show Reserve Shiraz $69.00, 1978 Mount Mary Quintets $255.00, 1966 Penfolds Bin
389 $147.00, 1960 Penfolds Grange $1365.00, 1979 Penfolds Grange Magnum $3753.00,
1986 Penfolds Grange Magnum $1898.00 and 1990 Penfolds Grange Magnum $2166.00.
The fourth quarter of the 2002 Season will be remembered by Langton’s for the successful
launch of its internet wine auction service – which comprises live time bidding
– and plenty of wine investment information. Overall auction results have become
firmer, volume of demand has increased and the entire auction process has become
more efficient and user friendly.
Langton’s database (free access) of wine auction prices can be found at
Wine Tools/Price Guide on this site.