The thirst for fine wine continues in Asia, where auction house Christie's has achieved its highest sale in Hong Kong since relaunching auctions there more than a year ago.

Christie's sold HK$39.9m (US$5.1m) of fine and rare wines at an auction in Hong Kong last weekend.

"At over US$5m, this sale marks Christie's most valuable sale of wine in Hong Kong since we returned to the region a year ago - and a 27% increase over our Fall 2008 total," said David Elswood, head of international wine sales at Christie's.

Demand for fine wine has remained high in Asia in 2009.

Elswood's counterpart at rival auction house Sotheby's, Serena Sutcliffe MW, has labelled Hong Kong the fine wine capital of the world.

Last weekend's Christie's auction revealed that Asian buyers are also showing a "growing sophistication" in their choices, according to Elswood.

The results, he said, "show a collector base that is becoming ever more discerning and rapidly learning how to select wines that are truly rare and are worth competing for".

Christie's' top seller was a Super Lot of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1999, sold for HK$1.44m.

Hong Kong, which is controlled by China, has flourished as a wine trading hub after authorities abolished duty tax on wines in 2008. Wine trade show Vinexpo Asia-Pacific will return to Hong Kong in 2010.