On March 22, 2019, a new world record was set for the most expensive port sold at auction. The sale, which took place in Hong Kong, featured the second (of five) generation Niepoort in Lalique 1863 decanter sold for HK$ 1,054,000 (approx. EUR 119,000 / US$ 134,000) — beating out the first generation decanter, sold in November 2018, by more than HK$ 60,000. All net proceeds from the sale benefit the Nature Conservancy.
The extremely rare 156-year-old vintage port, created Franciscus Marius van der Niepoort in 1863, is contained in an elegantly crafted Lalique crystal demijohn decanter.
Two of Europe’s most renowned heritage brands, the collaboration between Niepoort and Lalique, which was announced last year, has resulted in five demijohn decanters, each one engraved with a name from one of the five van der Niepoort generations. The second of the five generation decanters is created in honor of Eduard Karel Jacob van der Niepoort.
Using one of the oldest glass production techniques — cire perdue or ‘lost wax’ — the design is based on the original Lalique 11-litre demijohn from 1905 and presented in a bespoke Macassar ebony wood cabinet with Lalique grape pattern crystal inlays created by Lalique Maison.
“We are thrilled to achieve another landmark price for what is the oldest port we have ever bottled, commemorating our remarkable journey over five generations. We only have one demijohn from 1905, which contains one of our first wines, 1863. It is an incredibly rare port, the result of years of dedication and craftsmanship,” said Dirk van der Niepoort.
The 1863, an integral part of Niepoort’s rare blend known as “VV”, received perfect scores of 100/100 by international wine critic James Suckling and 20/20 by Jancis Robinson, the British wine critic who contributes to the Financial Times and advises on the wine cellar of Queen Elizabeth II.
“This new world record at HK$ 1,054,000 (approx. US$ 134,000) highlights the exceptional nature of the decanters and the remarkable quality of the Niepoort 1863. We are delighted that all net proceeds from the sale will benefit a charity that carries out hugely important work to preserve nature – a cause which we are honored to be able to support,” explained Silvio Denz, Chairman and CEO of Lalique.
The Nature Conservancy’s mission is “to conserve the lands and water on which all life depends.” Founded in Arlington, Virginia, in 1951, the organization impacts conservation in 72 countries, including all 50 states of the United States. The Conservancy has over 1,000,000 members, and has protected more than 119,000,000 acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide. The Nature Conservancy also operates more than 100 marine conservation projects globally and has pioneered new land preservation techniques such as the conservation easement and debt for nature swaps.
“Sotheby’s is honored to have been entrusted by The Nature Conservancy with this important auction which raises funds and awareness for this vital cause. We are delighted to have achieved a world record price for this brilliant collaboration between Lalique and Niepoort which is a tribute to the quality, heritage and craftsmanship of these two houses,” said Robert Sleigh, Managing Director at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.