Ex-Man United boss sells $5 million wine collection

12 bottles of Sassicaia 2004

Former Manchester United soccer boss Alex Ferguson is auctioning thousands of bottles of vintage wine worth around £3 million ($5 million).

The collection of around 5,000 bottles, as well as soccer memorabilia the former manager owns, goes under the hammer in May in Hong Kong and a month later in London at Christie's auction house.

"The importance of collecting wine was that it served as a distraction and gave me a balance in my life that helped me in dealing with the intensity and demands required of me as the manager of Manchester United," Ferguson said in a press release.

"In retirement, I now have the time to visit the places and people that will feed my passion, so I felt it made sense to release a large number of the wines I had collected over the years."

Fine wines in the collection include Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundies and many Finest First Growth Bordeaux ranging from the 1986 to 2011 vintages, spanning through the time period that Ferguson was the Manchester United boss.

Ferguson stepped down as manager of the soccer club last year and was replaced by David Moyes, but is perhaps the most successful British manager of all time, winning over 20 trophies.

"It is remarkable to see that Sir Alex's talent of picking quality players for the pitch also extends to picking sensational wines for the cellar," David Elswood, head of wine at Christie's, said in a press release.

Manchester United Cup Final shirt from 1996 signed “Best wishes Alex Ferguson”

Ferguson first became interested in wine collecting on a trip to Montpellier in France in 1991. He spoke to the owner of the hotel he was staying in who advised him on the wines to buy.

His enthusiasm for wine grew and he collected more from around the world. One particular wine in the collection is a '99 vintage Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy. In 1999, Ferguson won "the Treble" – the English Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – a feat not achieved by any other English team.

"It was the greatest time of my life. People keep saying, 'What was the best moment of your life as a manager?' and '99 is without question (the best time)," Ferguson said in an interview with Christie's.

Wines in the collection range from £350 to £65,000.

But not all soccer managers have the wine knowledge Ferguson possesses.

"Mancini (Galatasaray manager) always brought a bottle of Sassicaia to the game. He knew his wines okay. Arsène (Arsenal manager) has some decent wines. Chelsea weren't very good. I had to give them, remind them that they should have better wine!," Ferguson said.