In recent years, baijiu has been enjoying an increasing presence at major auction houses. Bottles of Kweichow Moutai, in particular, are regularly selling for substantial sums (with Sotheby’s in London a prominent recent example). Christie’s of Shanghai hosted another major auction in January 2022, with an authentic 1959 bottle of Moutai the star attraction of a 71-lot auction that comprised 613 bottles in total.
Dubbed “Enticing Flavours – Kweichow Moutai Online”, the auction involved selling off the prized collection of a single individual. The exhibition allowed interested parties to place bids on individual bottles from a wide array of eras. The 1959 was the oldest bottle in the batch, estimated to raise up to CNY 1,600,000 (around £185,500). Other lots included Moutai from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.
The 1959 vintage, dubbed the Wu Xing Moutai, is a white whale for many baijiu enthusiasts – hence the excitement. Other popular varieties were the Great Master Chang Dai-Chien Commemoration Moutai of 2012, which boasted a unique bottle design, and many other famed and celebrated years. The auction ran from January 4th to 18th and eventually closed at a value of CNY 9,525,600 (£1,103,923). Not bad for a day’s trading.