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Hospices de Beaune auction hits record €8m

The 154th Hospices de Beaune charity wine auction realised sales of €8,887,888 ($11.1m) over the weekend, an increase of 28% on 2013 and its highest total since the annual sale began in 1859.

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According to auction house Christie’s, auctioneers sold off 534 barrels of 47 different wines on Sunday with the average price per piece (barrel) reaching €13,750, an increase of 5.6% on last year’s auction.

Each barrel contained around 288 bottles with white wines seeing the biggest price increase per piece rising by 14.5% on last year, while red wines increased by 3.4%.

Among the auction’s highlights was the “president’s cuvée ” Corton Le Bressandes Grand Cru, which was sold to a group from Quebec through the négociant Albert-Bichel for €235,000, while a lot of Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Cuvée Cyrot-Chaudron reached €74,900.

Many of the region’s winemakers are hopeful the auction’s success could signal a positive turn in the region’s fortunes, however Anthony Hanso MW, of Christie’s wine department, was quick to downplay expectations, as reported by AFP.

He said that the sale had previously been a “barometer” for for the health of Burgundy’s wine markets but that today that “barometer is broken” adding: “It’s a charity auction, people are not buying to do business, but for another motivation.”

The president of the Confederation of Appellations and Winemakers of Burgundy (CAVB), Jean-Michel Aubinel, was more optimistic.

He said: “The balance sheet is still delicate, but early estimates predict 1.5 million hectoliters production. This will bring plenty of oxygen to Burgundy as our stocks were at their lowest.”

Money raised from the auction will go toward funding the Toutes à l’Ecole, an organisation that funds education for girls in Cambodia, and the Imagine Foundation, which carries out research into genetic diseases.

The remaining proceeds will go toward maintaining Hospices de Beaune, which was founded in the 15th Century by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor of the Duke of Burgundy.

This was the last auction for Roland Masse, who is standing down after 15 years in charge of the winemaking team at Hospices de Beaune, which covers 61 hectares. Ludivine Griveau, 36,  will take over in June – the first women to ever take on the role.

For a full list of the auction’s results click here.

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