sir alex ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson's 5,000 bottles of wine will be auctioned in Hong Kong and LondonReuters

Sir Alex Ferguson will make around £3m after he sells off his vintage wine collection amassed during his time as Manchester United manager.

The collection of around 5,000 bottles will begin its sale at Christie's auction house in May, along with other pieces of signed memorabilia.

Around 75% of the lot is a Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, a French Burgundy, described as the "wine of the moment in terms of demand" by Christie's director of wine David Elswood.

The wines span every year of Ferguson's reign as Manchester United manager from 1986 to his retirement in 2013. He said he took up collecting wine in 1991 as a way to "distract from the intensity and pressure" of managing the club.

His collection includes lots from 1999, his most successful year as United manager after the team won an historic treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

"People keep saying, 'What was the best moment of your life as a manager?' and '99 is without question," he said in an interview promoting the auction.

"There was always this thing about my career that I never had won the Champions League, so to win it in the way we did win it was absolutely fantastically special. And it coincided with a vintage; you were talking about Romanee-Conti '99, a really special year. I think we deserved that."

sir alex ferguson
The former Manchester United manager started his collection in 1991Reuters

Around 60% of the wine will go on sale in Hong Kong on 24 May, with roughly 30% auctioned off in London in June. The remaining 10% is expected to be sold online.

Ferguson, who won won 38 trophies including 13 Premier League titles during his 26 years at Manchester United, said he began collecting wine to help relieve the stress of the job.

"Taking an interest in wine allowed me to have an interest outside the game. You have to have outside interests to distract you from the intensity and the pressure you come under as a football manager," he said.

"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, to sell it."

Elswood described Ferguson's talent of picking out quality players extended to picking out a good wine.

He added: "While Sir Alex Ferguson's reputation and standing in football is renowned the world over, we are thrilled at Christie's to be able to showcase his exceptional taste in fine wine.

"This collection includes a roll-call of impressive wines, including one of the most comprehensive groups of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti that we have ever offered at auction."