Sotheby's crowns its king of fine wines for 2013
A small vineyard in Burgundy that produces fewer than 500 cases of wine a year was the favorite of the Sotheby's set last year.
According to Sotheby's Wine Ranking for 2013, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was the best-seller at the auction house last year: Of its total wine auction sales of $58 million, Sotheby's sold $7.2 million of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which is known as DRC in wine circles.
"The story of the 2013 Sotheby's Ranking is the dominance of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti," said Jamie Ritchie, CEO and president of the Americas and Asia for Sotheby's Wine. "Despite very limited production, strong demand led to high prices, making DRC our biggest seller globally.
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The most expensive lot of wine Sotheby's sold last year was a case of Château Latour à Pomerol 1961 that fetched $167,508—or just under $14,000 a bottle—in London.
Asian buyers continued to power the biggest demand for fine wines, with Sotheby's sales in Hong Kong totaling $25.5 million last year. London sales came in at $20 million, with New York rang up $12.5 million.
(Read more: How China Is Transforming the Bordeaux Market)
Sotheby's said total sales of fine wines at live auction fell to $278.5 million from $335.6 million in 2012, mainly because of weaker Chinese demand.
The house also rated the top-selling wine producers by region.
Lafite ranked first In Bordeaux, while DRC topped the Burgundy list. Dom Perignon was the premier Champagne. Opus One was No. 1 in California, while Massetto was ranked first in sales for Italy.
—By CNBC's Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank.