The 161st Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction more than doubled its pre-sale estimate on Sunday, with the packed auction room raising a total of €13.5 million ($15.3 million) for charity.
The event, which was held in the Halle de Beaune sold all 362 lots above their high estimates, but the undisputed star of the evening was the charity barrel, The ‘Pièce des Présidents’. This unique single-barrel cuvée, which is also known as the Pièce de Charité, came from the Corton Renardes vineyard and was made by Ludivine Grivea working with celebrated barrel maker François Frères. It was sold for €800,000 ($900,000) after a lively 15-minute bidding battle.
French actors Jeanne Balibar and Pio Marmaï took to the rostrum on behalf of the two charity that will benefit from the sale – the Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes, which aims to end violence against women, and breast cancer research charity, the Institut Curie – to drum up excitement, with the 700-strong audience bursting into applause several time as the price rose.
The eventual winner was luxury wine investment group, the OenoGroup, who called it a “momentous purchase” that demonstrated not only its dedication in acquiring the rarest and finest wines, but also in the most ethical manner.
OenoGroup’s managing director Michael Doerr said that bidding on the Pièce des Présidents from the prestigious Corton Renardes vineyard “adheres to our company’s core values and we are looking forward to making a positive impact in the lives of more people in the years to come.”
OenoGroup’s Director of Wine Justin Knock MW said with the acquisition, Oeno celebrated the diversity of the wine world. “From the vineyard manager, winemaker, barrel manufacturer, to the auction house and ourselves, every participation is a true testament to the industry’s dedication to support diversity and equality, and to provide wines of the highest quality and ethics,” he said.
Other lots included two barrels of Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, cuvée Dames de Flandres 2021, which both doubled their high estimate, selling for €248,200 ($280,420) and €221,400 ($249,940) respectively.
The €12.6 million raised from the sale (excluding proceeds from the Pièce des Présidents) will go towards the completion of the €70 million reconstruction of the Philippe Le Bon Hospital in Beaune, and the acquisition of a new mammography machine. Funds will also support the Hôtel Dieu museum project that was delayed by the pandemic.
François Poher, director and chairman of the Board of Hospices Civils de Beaune, said they were proud to have contributed to raising awareness about women’s rights, and access to healthcare.
“The result of the sale exceeded our expectations. We have a great responsibility to build a new, safe and exemplary hospital,” he said.
Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine added that although it was smallest number of lots offered in more than forty years, the results were well beyond the highest expectations, with the 362 lots achieving an average increase of 85% per cuvée.
“Demand for Burgundy has been steadily increasing and this, combined with the exceptional quality of the wines produced by Ludivine Griveau and her team, and the small size of the vintage, led to vibrant bidding, with collectors enthusiastically shouting out bids from the floor of the saleroom,” he said.
The Hospices de Beaune Auction was first launched in 1859 and is one of the most esteemed charity wine auctions in the world. This year was the first Hospices de Beaune auction which was organised and hosted by Sotheby’s.