#496 - Sotheby’s auction
For the first time, Dassai has been placed at Sotheby's Hong Kong, the world's oldest auction house. We have often said for some time that the weakness of sake compared to wine is the lack of highly valued, high-priced products, and that in order to compete with wine in the world, it is essential to create products that tap into that market.
The first step was "Dassai Beyond", and many people have asked me if there is a future for that market. I have often been asked by many people, "Is there a something beyond Dassai Beyond?”
The answer to that question is our placement in this year's Sotheby's auction. Last year, we held a contest to produce the best Yamada-Nishiki rice, the highest quality sake rice, and we plan to do it again this year. The Yamada-Nishiki that won first prize has cost us 500,000 yen (about 5000 dollars) per bale (60 kg), or 25 million yen since we purchased 50 bales of this rice. This figure is based on the fact that this amount of rice allows us to craft a tank of sake.
People have asked me what kind of sake would we craft with this special Yamada-Nishiki rice, but it was not worth it to make a “Dassai Beyond” with rice that cost 25 million yen. So, because we are not going to make profits out of this sake anyway, we came up with the idea of placing it at an auction. I knew that wine was sold at Sotheby's auction along with paintings and jewelry, so I decided to place this Dassai on its auction.
I have been thinking a lot about what kind of direction I should take in terms of sake quality if Dassai were to enter a market for high priced products, products that exceed 500,000 yen. I am proud this sake has reached a reasonable level of quality, but it was still difficult to set a price on this sake.
That's also why we have placed this Dassai on the global auction market. In addition, we chose to place it in Hong Kong because lately the value of wine handled is higher than in New York or London.
As you know, the English have played a major role in the current global reputation of French wine. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that the French have not pushed French wines to the highest position in the world, but the English have. They became aware of the quality of French wines and began to introduce and sell them to the world, and I think that's how the position of French wines in the world's wine market was established today. As long as we are trying to run up the world's stairs, being recognized from "places" and "people" outside of Japan is indispensable.
I will be watching anxiously how this sake will be evaluated. Of course, this is an auction, so it is possible that the bids exceed our expectations, or on the contrary, not get as high as expected.
The final date to determine the winning bids is next month, on November 10.
According to Sotheby's, the winning bid is expected to be between 450,000 yen and 700,000 yen (4500 to 7000 dollars a bottle). There are six bottles in total, so if you would like to bid on them, feel free to do so.
Auction page: https://www.sothebys.com/en/digital-catalogues/vine-the-scholarly-cellar-of-dr-gordon-ku-part-ii-dassai-beyond-the-beyond