HDH Wine

Aubrey McClendon’s Rare-Wine Collection Could Fetch $7.6 Million
Deceased Chesapeake CEO’s Bordeaux collection to be auctioned

by Kevin Helliker and Ryan Dezember
Published: September 16, 2016

 

Aubrey McClendon, CEO, chairman, and co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp., died in a car crash in March.
 

In 2001, Aubrey McClendon walked into an Oklahoma City wine shop seeking an education. His growing prominence as chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK, +0.00%   increasingly placed him at formal dinners where he was handed a wine list and invited to make a selection.

“He didn’t know anything about wine, and it upset him,” recalls Stan Stack, owner of Beau’s Wine Bin & Spirit Shoppe in Oklahoma City.

In the years that followed, McClendon became America’s most prolific driller, a billionaire and a world-famous collector of Bordeaux. On Saturday, six months after McClendon died in a fiery single-vehicle crash in Oklahoma City, his wine collection will be sold at auction and is expected to fetch as much as $7.6 million.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” says Ben Nelson, president of Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., the Chicago-based auctioneer handling the sale. “For a while, Aubrey was the most important wine buyer in America.”

The McClendon collection won’t break any financial records. A sale this May by billionaire William Koch drew nearly $22 million, according to Sotheby’s. But the McClendon collection stands apart for its share of rare giants, including 17 18-liter melchiors, each the equivalent of 24 regular bottles of wine. “Some of these large bottles, they only made a few of them in any given year,” Nelson says.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

 

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