Many regular bidders at Acker auctions are also major art collectors, Kapon said. Indeed, the likes of Sotheby's and Christie's host wine auctions in addition to their mainstay art events. The overlap between art and wine collectors can help auction houses tap into larger potential client pools.
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That said, the art and wine markets don't move in perfect parallel. The art market suffered immediately after the financial crisis in 2009 and has since been on a steady climb. Wine prices held up better in the crisis but softened in 2011 when Chinese demand for top Bordeaux pulled back.
But in some ways, the wine market looks less vulnerable to such a swing than it did a few years ago. Kapon pointed out that Thursday's auction, which included a live crowd along with online and Internet bidding, had more buyers from Latin America than from Asia. "Countries like Brazil and Mexico played a significant role," he said. "It's the first time they've been bigger than Asia at a New York auction."
One investor at the auction also pointed out that the wine market has become more efficient thanks to widely available information that's updated almost constantly. "You don't have as many insider trades anymore," he said. "It's not like there's dumb money just buying blindly."
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