London - Legendary former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is to auction off part of his wine collection worth an estimated 3 million ($5 million, 3.6 million euros), Christie's announced on Wednesday.
The collection of around 5 000 bottles contains many fine and rare wines including Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Burgundies and Finest First Growth Bordeaux ranging from the 1986 to 2011 vintages.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is currently hot property, according to Christie's.
"It's the wine of the moment in terms of demand," said David Elswood. "So hopefully that's going to draw the attention of not just Alex Ferguson fans but wine fans too."
The collection of Britain's most succesful manager of all time will be sold in three auctions: Hong Kong on May 24, London on June 5 and an online sale running from June 9 to 23.
Alongside the wines, the London-based auction house will also be offering pieces of signed footballing memorabilia.
Ferguson retired last year after guiding Manchester United through its most succesful period, winning 2 European Cups, 12 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Inter-Continental Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup.
The fiery Scot took up the hobby as a distraction from the pressures of managing one of the world's largest clubs, becoming a collector following a visit to France in 1991.
"Taking an interest in wine allowed me to have an interest outside the game," he explained.
"You have to have outside interests to distract you from the intensity and the pressure you come under as a football manager.
"And all of a sudden, two or three years ago, when I'm going through the portfolio, we realise this has got to be an amazing amount of wine. I retired last year, and I thought this was a good time to sell it."
It became traditional throughout his career to offer opposing managers a glass of one of his vintages, and he often received bottles in exchange.