Billionaire entrepreneur and collector William I. Koch has realized that, no matter how many dinner parties he hosts, there is no way he will ever work his way through his astonishing 43,000 bottle wine collection. Which has collectors around the world salivating, as he’s decided to offer nearly half at auction at Sotheby’s this spring. This gives wine lovers a rare opportunity to get their hands on some of the most highly regarded vintages of the 20th century including ten bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945 estimated to fetch between $80,000 and $120,000, from one of the largest collections in the country.
“With around 43,000 bottles, I could not possibly consume everything in my cellar, so I am delighted to offer this selection to allow collectors all over the world to enjoy the glorious moments that come with these wines,” Koch said in a release announcing the auction.
The sale, broken into some 2,700 lots to be sold over three days, May 19-21st, is estimated to bring in between $10.5 to $15 million–one of the highest totals ever for a Sotheby’s wine auction.
“Bill Koch has one of the greatest cellars in the world, packed full of legendary wines that all collectors want to try,” says Jamie Ritchie, CEO & President Americas and AsiaSotheby’s Wine. “Bill focused on the highest quality: the greatest producers from each region, together with the best vintages.”
“As a very generous host, [Koch] purchased significant quantities, so he could enjoy them on multiple occasions, with many friends around the table,” says Ritchie.
Other highlights include more than 60 lots and 14 vintages of Chateau d’Yquem, from vintages as far back as 1921, as well as treasured bottles of Taylor Port, Penfold’s Grange and Bryant Family Cabernet.
On Koch’s dinner party list? Never fear — with some 23,000 bottles left, his Palm Beach wine cellar, decorated with Roman mosaics and vaulted brick ceilings built by a team of artisans from Austria, will be far from empty. Perhaps he’ll hold back a few Nebuchadnezzars – which hold 20 standard bottles of wine – of Le Montrachet to share.