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Spotlight On: Heitz 1974


John Siudut
Posted: April 9, 2008

The label and vintage aren't the only factors to pay attention to when buying a wine at auction: The bottle's provenance—how many people have previously owned the bottle and where it's been stored—matters too. Bidders are likely to pay more for bottles that have been stored in pristine conditions, especially when it comes to older wines. For this reason, the upcoming sale of the Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Martha's Vineyard 1974 (87, $25 release price, $1,382 current auction price) at Zachys' single-cellar auction on April 25 in New York will be one to watch.

The Heitz Martha's Vineyard 1974 is one of the stars of California wine. It is a standard bearer for quality Napa Cabernet and its ability to age. That it remains an exceptional wine at the peak of its maturity is reflected in its auction price: It has traded as high as $3,570 and $3,372 per bottle when Zachys sold two case lots on May 10, 2007. The current average price per bottle is $1,382.

The upcoming single six-bottle lot on offer at the Zachys sale has the potential to sell on the high side because of the provenance of the collection. The entire consignment comes from Graham Lyons, one of London's most astute collectors, and bidders are preparing for battle. Zachys has set the low estimate at slightly above recent sales at $1,750 a bottle and the high estimate at $3,000 a bottle.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart plots the high, low and average price of Heitz 1974 for each quarter at auction since 2004.

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