More than 3,000 bottles of Bordeaux and Champagne from the private collection of Albert Frere, the Belgian billionaire, have exceeded estimates and raised £1.1m in London.

Of the 454 lots, 97% found buyers at Sotheby's charity auction, yesterday.

Top price was earned by a 12 bottle case of Chateau Petrus from the 1989 vintage, estimated at £15,000-20,000 and eventually bringing a staggering £29,900.

A six-bottle case of Cheval Blanc 1990, sourced, like all the wines in the auction, directly from its chateau, sold for £8,050 pounds.

A 12-bottle case of Chateau Lafite 2000 brought £13,225 pounds, against a high estimate of £9,000 pounds.

The most successful Champagne lot was a six-bottle case Dom Perignon's 1996 rose, selling for £1,495. The presale valuation had been £800 to £1,100 pounds.

This is the third sale held by Sotheby's for a charity named after Frere's son who died in a car accident 10 years ago.

The Charles-Albert Frere Foundation supports children in difficulty and disadvantaged adults.

Frere, 83, is one of Belgium's richest men with a net worth of $2.4bn. He is co-owner of the Chateau Cheval Blanc vineyard in Bordeaux.

His wine auctions in 2003 and 2006 raised £822,634 and £1.8m pounds respectively for his charity.

Wine is one of the few international auction markets that has maintained price levels and success rates during the economic crisis.

'Half the lots were sold to Asia...'

"Asians like Lafite because it was top of the original 1855 classification of Bordeaux," said Stephen Mould, Sotheby's European head of wine.

"They've also got a taste for it. They're not so keen on Champagne,"

"I would guess at least half the lots at this sale went to Asia," he said.

The growing Asian wine markets have played a significant part in the ongoing strength of the wine market - an average of 95% of bottles at Sotheby's and Christie's International London, New York and Hong Kong sales this year have found buyers.

"The market seems to have gone up a gear since the summer," added Mould.


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