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Marathon Hospices de Beaune charity auction raises US$27.4million

The 163rd Hospices de Beaune charity wine auction, which was held over the weekend, raised an aggregate total of €25.1million (US$27.4million), the second highest total ever achieved for the annual auction.

Aurélie Vandevoorde, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist & Modern Art, Paris, fielding bids during the 163rd Hospices de Beaune wine sale, 19 November 2023

The marathon event, which was first established in 1859, saw three auctioneers – Aurélie Vandevoorde, Aurélie Massou and Jeanne Calmont – conduct the sale in rotation over seven-hours in front of a 700-strong audience in the Halle de Beaune. It attracted bids from 24 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, the organisers said.

The sale featured 753 barrels housing 51 cuvées of the 2023 vintage (divided into 574 barrels of red wines and 179 barrels of white wines) produced from vineyards across the Hospices’ 60-hectare holdings, with the average price per barrel of the red and white wines reaching €30,839, Sotheby’s said.

Highlights from the sale included three barrels of Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cuvée Dames de Flandres, which sold for €350,000 ($381,815) each. All together, the five barrels of Bâtard-Montrachet on offer achieved 14% more than the equivalent number of barrels in last year’s sale – an exceptional result for this white Grand Cru cuvée, Sotheby’s said.

The Charity Barrel, known as the Pièce des Présidents (Presidents’ Barrel), this year comprised a unique Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cuvée Madeleine Collignon, which was produced from the Grand Cru parcel donated to the Hospices in 1976 by Jean Collignon and named in memory of his mother. The oak used for the barrel came from part of a 220- year-old trees used in the reconstruction oft he spire of Notre Dame cathedral ,The barrel sold for €350,000 ($381,815) to the owner of Château de Couches, a medieval fortress classified as a ‘historic monument’. French actor Thierry Lhermitte and doctor and television presenter Michel Cymes – representing this year’s charitable cause – were on the rostrum as co-auctioneers for the lot, alongside Sotheby’s Jeanne Calmont.

Proceeds from the sale of the barrel are being donated to the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM) and the Initiative de Recherche pour une Longévité en Bonne Santé (IRLB) – two organisations dedicated to researching the maintaining good health in old age and improving life expectancy.

Money from remainder of the sale will be used by the Hospices Civils de Beaune to finance major new structural projects in 2024, including replacing the first building of the modern era with a new hospital, the rebuilding of the hospital in Seurre, the renewal of hospital equipment with cutting edge technology, and a modernisation of the winery.

Marie-Anne Ginoux, managing director of Sotheby’s France, who organised the sale noted that the bar had been set very high with last year’s results, which raised €31 million (US$32 million) –  more than double the previous record for a Hospices de Beaune wine sale

“Collectors were bidding enthusiastically throughout, and the overall result is a measure of the generosity this auction inspires not just in the region but far beyond Burgundy,” she said. “The sum raised from the Presidents’ Barrel has provided a substantial amount for the research soon to be undertaken by the two benefitting organisations.”

Guillaume Koch, director and chairman of the Board of the Hospices Civils de Beaune, noted that despite the decrease from the 2022 sale, the result confirmed “the quality of the wines produced by the Hospices de Beaune estate from a surprising 2023 vintage” and he looked forward to the next edition in 2024.

Ludivine Griveau, manager of the Hospices de Beaune wine estate, added that the sale was “a beautiful embodiment of the balance we always strive to obtain in our wines”.

This year I had to make some strong choices in the vineyard and during the harvest with my team, which resulted in lower quantities than expected, but the 2023 vintage will stand proudly on its own as it charts a promising course,” she said. “At its heart, the Hospices de Beaune is a beautiful institution and I hope that these wines will bring pleasure to all the winning bidders. I am hugely grateful to everyone who took part.”


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