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Burgundy's Hospices de Beaune Raises Nearly $16.2 Million

The 158th annual charity auction enjoyed a record-breaking year, thanks in part to the highest-selling barrel in auction history and a successful 2018 Burgundy vintage
Barrels of grand cru Burgundy brought in impressive prices at this year's auction.
Photo by: Courtesy Hospices de Beaune
Barrels of grand cru Burgundy brought in impressive prices at this year's auction.

Brianne Garrett
Posted: December 4, 2018

Updated Dec. 12: This story has been updated with a corrected 2017 total from Hospices de Beaune.

Burgundy's Hospices de Beaune charity wine auction celebrated its 158th year by raising a new record total for health and education causes. This year's auction, on Nov. 18, generated nearly 14.2 million euros, or $16.2 million, from its sale of 631 barrel lots of red wines and 197 lots of whites, well over last year's 11 million euro total.

"We are amazed and very proud of this year's record," François Poher, director of the Hospices de Beaune, told Wine Spectator. "As it's an auction, we do not really have a specific goal; we never know how bidders will react in the auction room."

The average barrel price at the auction was $19,150, an increase from last year, which was "largely due to the success of the grands crus," said Poher. The Bâtard-Montrachet grand cru lot sold at the highest single-barrel price in the auction's history, for 135,000 euros, or $155,000.

This year, enthusiasm in the auction room was high, Poher noted, particularly during the auction's traditional Pièce des Présidents portion. French actors Nathalie Baye, Emmanuelle Béart and Pascal Elbé and writer Erik Orsenna all took the podium to encourage buyer participation in that part of the sale, which included two lots: Corton Clos du Roi grand cru and Meursault Les Genevrières premier cru. The combined lots brought in $260,000 for three foundations aimed at improving global health and education.

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