The shadow of the Paris November 13th terrorist attacks loomed large over the 2015 eagerly anticipated Hospices de Beaune charity auction.
Part of Burgundy’s renowned annual weekend wine festival Les Trois Glorieuses, the Sunday auction falls midway between the public tasting on Saturday and elite Le Paulée luncheon at Château de Meursault on Monday.
Established in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, Hospices de Beaune serves as a charitable hospital for the poor. Until the Revolution, Hospices de Beaune thrived through religious and aristocratic patronage. This stopped after the Revolution, with the confiscation of church and aristocratic wealth.
As a result, Hospices de Beaune devised an annual wine auction in 1859, and it has pretty much been held every year from then. Since 1978, the Hospices de Beaune began to earmark one or more barrels, known as the Pièce des Présidents, for auction to benefit selected charities. As of 1945, an Honorary President presides over each wine.
This year, former French TV anchorwoman Claire Chazal represented the Institut Curie, which assists cancer research, and Highlander star Christophe Lambert stood in for the Fondation pour la recherche sur les AVC which aids stroke research.
Proceeds from the sale of the 228-litre barrel of Corton-Renardes Grand Cru-Cuvée des Présidents benefit these two charities. The Honorary Presidents also designated one-third of the proceeds to families of the Paris terrorists attacks.
The 2015 Vente des Vins broke all previous records, as Hospices de Beaune’s first woman wine maker since 1443, Ludivine Griveau, offered her inaugural vintage for auction.
Total sales yielded an impressive €11,347,609, including a staggering final bid of €480,000 for the Pièce des Président’s Barrel by an anonymous French donor.
More about the stunning Hospices de Beaune
L.M. Archer, FWS works is a freelance writer and wine professional. She holds designations in French Wine and Bourgogne Master-Level through the French Wine Society. She is also a member of the Society of Wine Educators, Alliance Française de Seattle, and blogs at www.binnotes.com