Sotheby’s announced today that it is selling over 20,000 bottles of wine from the cellar of William I. Koch in a three-day auction that begins May 19. William, better known as Bill, is the slightly-less-evil twin of industrialist David Koch, who was in the news recently when a group of scientists publicly urged natural history museums across the country to reject his donations due to his funding of “misinformation on climate science,” in the words of a widely circulated petition. Bill, for his part, has gone on record saying that his brothers—in particular his older brother Charles—had engaged in “organized crime,” claiming that the Koch fortune came largely from stealing oil from Indian reservations and other federal land. (The brothers settled this dispute in a lawsuit in 2001.)
Bill Koch has been a wine collector for four decades, amassing a collection of 43,000 bottles. Here’s a video of Koch walking through his Palm Beach cellar and saying things like, “What’s important is the ratio of the surface area of the cork to the volume” and, “Did you see the wine bathroom? Wanna see it?” to which I decline to provide further commentary.
Among the lots available at Sotheby’s are ten bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945, which is estimated to sell for $80,000 to $120,000. The total estimate for the auction is $10.5 million to $15 million. Koch is offloading a portion of his cellar because, according to a statement released by Sotheby’s, “I could not possibly consume everything.”