Wine collectors yearning for the chance both to travel and indulge their passion have an extraordinary opportunity at Sotheby’s this March. From a private tour of the spectacular Grand Chai (Great Barrel Hall) at Château Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux to the Douro Valley’s great Port houses, Sassicaia’s sun-kissed Tuscan estate, or Drouhin’s 13th-century cellar in Burgundy – all of these adventures and more await the winning bidder. 

Every year, Primum Familia Vini (PFV) families each select one of their finest vintages to produce only 12 individually numbered, limited edition cases; Sotheby’s will offer Case Number 1 of 12 from this year’s release. This international association of some of the world’s finest wine-producing families from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain – the Primum Familiae Vini – represents the wine world’s leading names that remain to this day in family ownership.  

Solaia Vineyard finest wines, Tuscany, Italy. Courtesy of Sotheby's
Solaia Vineyard, Tuscany, Italy. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The biding starting from £30,000, this extraordinary single lot opens Sotheby’s online sale of wines, running from March 12 -29.

The PFV Passport represents one of the most remarkable experiences in the world of wine. It offers the buyer a single visit to each of the 12 members of the PFV. The PFV also includes the family member receiving the winning bidder to a lunch or dinner at their respective estates. The best part is, the PFV passport never expires. The winning bidders can redeem it at any point in the future. The signature of the family member who selected the individual wine is engraved by hand onto each bottle, and every case is hand-made by the renowned Thierry Drevelle in his atelier in Cognac. The artist has used ancient ‘Chêne de Marais’ sculpted into an elegant curve echoing the private cellars’ arches from which these wines originate.

Pol Roger Champagne, France. Courtesy of Sothebys
Pol Roger Champagne, France. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

An organization with a unique heritage in the world of wine, the 12 member houses of the PFV display a powerful commitment to independent family wine producers’ continuity. The 12 families that currently make up the association are Marchesi Antinori, Baron Philippe de Rothschild (Mouton), Joseph Drouhin, Egon Müller Scharzhof, Famille Hugel, Champagne Pol Roger, Famille Perrin, Symington Family Estates, Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia), Familia Torres, Vega Sicilia, and Domaine Clarence Dillon.

Symington Family Estates finest wines
Symington Family Estates. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Paul Symington, Chairman of the PFV, said, “Our twelve families are multi-generational, and we all have a passionate and very personal commitment to our vineyards, to our wines, and the continuity of our family project. We meet together regularly to share our experiences and to make sure that our children grow up appreciating each other’s wine regions. In this Limited Edition Case, you will find one of the finest wines that each of us has produced in recent years, and we have signed each bottle. We look forward to sharing a good bottle of wine over lunch or dinner with the winning bidder in each of our wineries in due course.”

Chateau Mouton Rothschild finest wines
Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Speaking about the initiative, Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, said, “With every bottle destined to become a legend from their respective regions, the twelve cases represent the first and only time that these great vintages will be available together. This case, Number 1 of the edition, will serve as the inspiration for and collective memory of a visit to each estate, where a family member hosts you. The people behind the wines define the wines that they make. The opportunity to meet twelve legendary producers on your timetable is a dream that can come true, but only for the winning bidder. No passport was issued during 2020, and the maximum offered in any year is just one or two. The case we are offering is one of the only cases ever to be made available with this additional outstanding prize.”

Maison Joseph Drouhin finest wines
Maison Joseph Drouhin. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Speaking about last year, Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide auction sales of wine and spirits totaled an outstanding $92 million in 2020, with over 15,000 lots sold across 41 deals – a nearly 50% increase in the number of auctions held in 2019. Over $60 million of wine and spirits were sold to online bidders in 2020 versus $28 million in 2019, with 85% of all lots offered to find online buyers. Demonstrating continued strength in Asia, Sotheby’s led the region’s market for the third consecutive year, with over 70% of the total bid amount in all Wine and Spirits sales attributed to collectors in Asia.