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Hospices de Beaune sale to fund modernisation of winery and hospital buildings

The 163rd Hospices de Beaune wine sale, which will take place on 19 November, will see 753 barrels from the 2023 harvest sold, with profits going towards modernising the winery and major structural work to some of its more modern hospital buildings.

The money raised will be used to finance projects including the construction of a new hospital building, which will replace the first modern hospital building that was erected in 1971, the rebuilding of the hospital in Seurre, and investment in cutting edge technology and hospital equipment, as well as a modernisation of the winery.

A total of 51 cuvées from the 2023 harvest will be presented from the 60-hectare vineyards belonging to the Hospices, comprising 574 barrels of red wines and 179 barrels of white wines, along with the unique Presidents’ Barrel, Pièce des Présidents and 16 barrels of eaux de vie.

The star lot is a a Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cuvée Madeleine Collignon, produced from the Grand Cru parcel donated to the Hospices in 1976 by Jean Collignon and named after his mother. This year the barrel will ‘twin’ with the spire of Notre-Dame, having been made from a 220- year-old trees used in the rebuilding of the famous Gothic cathedral.

The proceeds raised from sale of the Pièce des Présidents will go two charities that champion good health and “ageing well”, the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM) and the Initiative de Recherche pour une Longévité en Bonne Santé (IRLB). Funds will be used to research age-related pathologies and neurodegenerative diseases and exploring new approaches aimed at better understanding these complex diseases and identifying therapeutic solutions that could delay the ageing process and maintain good health in old age.

Marie-Anne Ginoux, managing director of Sotheby’s France, which is conducting the sale for the third year in a row, said that the bar has been set very high with the “exceptional” total of 2022, which raised a record breaking €31 million (US$32 million) – the highest ever total for a charity wine auction and a new record for a wine auction at Sotheby’s.

This result testifies “both to the excellent quality of the wines produced by Ludivine Griveau and her team and to the worldwide demand for high-quality Burgundy wines,” Ginoux said. “For the past three years, the sale has been a clear priority for us. It is essential to support the Hospices Civils de Beaune, a cause that we in turn are privileged to support.”

Guillaume Koch, director and chairman of the Board of Hospices Civils de Beaune, added that like the vast majority of French public hospitals, the Hospices are facing a number of challenges, including a shortage of medical and nursing staff, and outdated equipment and buildings.

“Previous sales, including the highly successful sale in 2022, have already enabled us to modernise the hospital, improve reception and working conditions and plan major investments. The new projects are major and structural,” he said. “As with every year, the Hospices de Beaune is promoting a cause. This year it’s about ageing well. Establishments such as ours are faced with an ageing population and an increasingly heavy burden of care for the elderly. Now more than ever, we need the continued generosity of our benefactors to help us improve the way we care for people, through better reception, more and better-staffed clinics and fundamental research.”

Ludivine Griveau, Manager of the Hospices de Beaune wine estate

The 60-hectare estate is now in its third and final year of organic conversion, and intends to have an organic label for the Hospices de Beaune wines leaving the winery in 2024, Ludivine Griveau, manager of the Hospices de Beaune wine estate explained.”The 2023 harvest was meticulously sorted both in the vineyards and in the winery to ensure that the quality of the grapes met the estate’s high standards. The focus was firmly on quality rather than quantity. The whites reveal aromas of fresh white fruit, are each firmly rooted in their respective terroirs and are very powerful on the palate. Their texture reveals a fine balance with good acidity. The Pinot Noir grapes that arrived in the vats were superb and the result of a drastic selection process. They quickly released their intense ruby colours and aromas of fresh fruit. With gentle, gradual extractions over eighteen to twenty-five days, depending on the cuvée, the tannins are coated and smooth. The red wines are structured but not excessive. The finish is very fruity, with textures conducive to a fairly long ageing period.”

Founded in 1443, the Hospices Civils de Beaune today comprises the historic 15th-century Hôtel-Dieu, which has not housed patients or elderly residents since the early 1980s, , along with the hospital centres of Beaune, Arnay-le-Duc, Seurre and Nuits-St-Georges. The Philippe Le Bon Hospital in Beaune is the support facility for the Groupement Hospitalier de Territoire du Sud Côte-d’Or. With around 60-hectares of vineyards, it has held its famous sale, the oldest charity wine auction in the world, since 1859.

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