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  5. The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction: tradition, history and charity with Sotheby's

The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction: tradition, history and charity with Sotheby's

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The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction: tradition, history and charity with Sotheby's

Every year, the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction is held at the Halle de Beaune. Discover the history, mission and significant partnership between Sotheby's and this iconic event.

The Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale: an ancient tradition

The Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale, held on the third Sunday in November, is the oldest charity wine auction and also the most renowned in the world. Part of "Les Trois Glorieuses", it has become a major cultural phenomenon in Burgundy.

The 51 Cuvées on offer not only raise funds for the medical equipment and modernization of the hospital institution, but also for service and care to the local community.

Les Trois Glorieuses

Les Trois Glorieuses represents the series of wine events on the 3rd weekend of November in Burgundy. Known as the world's finest wine festivals, they bring together all the world's greatest wine lovers as the fate of the new vintage is decided. It's a sort of wild waltz, a weekend of madness under the auspices of tradition and passion for the vine. Like any good waltz, it's marked by three beats.

On the third Saturday in November, the Château du Clos de Vougeot hosts the main annual gathering of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin for a gala dinner, where formal dress is de rigueur.

The following Sunday, the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune becomes the scene of the famous Hospices de Beaune auctions, influencing the price of the latest harvests. This festive weekend features a variety of events, including exclusive tastings by Beaune's most prestigious wineries and wine merchants.

The following Monday, the Paulée de Meursault takes place at the Château de Meursault winery, bringing together winemakers, merchants, customers and friends. Initially a convivial meal between owners and farm workers at the end of the harvest, this event, also known as the Troisième Glorieuse, now brings together over 750 guests. Everyone contributes to the meal by bringing their own wine, preferably of excellent quality (jeroboams, grands crus, old vintages, etc.). Over 60 wines are tasted.

The Paulée de Meursault, established in 1932, marks the annual close of the Côte de Beaune wine-growing season.

The Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale: a unique heritage and history

The Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale takes place at the very heart of the prestigious wine estate of the same name. While the venue has changed vocation several times since its construction, first as a hotel, then as a hospital, it is now a sales room whose main building - known as the "Hôtel-Dieu" and dating from the 15th century - is now listed as a historic building.

The history of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Sales

1443: After the Hundred Years' War, a period of unrest and plagues, including the plague, strikes the whole of France. Beaune, like the rest of Burgundy, suffers considerable damage. Nicolas Rolin, knight and chancellor to Philippe Le Bon, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Guigone de Salins, took advantage of their wealth and influence to build a hospital to welcome, care for and house the destitute and sick. Thus was born the Hospices de Beaune.

1443 - 1451: Nicolas Rolin enriches the Hospices' art collection. He commissioned Rogier van der Weyden, the eminent painter of the time, to paint an imposing altarpiece depicting the Last Judgment for the chapel altar. This masterpiece still hangs in the Hospices de Beaune today.

1457: Jean Guillotte le Verrier makes the first donation of vines to the Hôtel-Dieu. This tradition has continued over the centuries to the present day, with over 600 years of donations. Since this first donation, the Hospices de Beaune have received 790 hectares of land, including around 61 hectares of vineyards, mostly Premiers and Grands Crus.

1795: For the very first time, the Hospices de Beaune decide to auction off the most recent harvest. Over the years, the Hospices alternated between public and private sales.

1859: The public auction of Hospices de Beaune wines begins. At the time, the sale took place by candlelight, with the winner being the last bidder before the flame was extinguished. This tradition continues today for the Pièce de Charité.

1862: The Hôtel-Dieu, recognized for its architectural and historical importance, is registered as a historic monument, enjoying the privileges, protection and enhancement reserved for French heritage sites.

1899: As a tribute to the founders and benefactors of the Hospices de Beaune, it was decided to name each cuvée after them. Each of the 51 cuvées has its own unique story, closely linked to the history of Burgundy and France.

1959: Hospices de Beaune enters the modern sales era. Their reputation spreads internationally, attracting an ever-growing public not only to the auctions, but also to the region. Sales move to Les Halles de Beaune, on the other side of the historic site.

1971: The hospital services of the Hôtel-Dieu are moved to new premises, allowing a museum to be set up in the former treatment room. Revenues from the museum and wine auctions contribute to the creation of a new hospital.

1978: The Hospices de Beaune aim to increase their international presence and philanthropy. From this year onwards, they offer one barrel a year for auction to benefit one or more charities. This is the Pièce de Charité or Pièce des Présidents, hosted by celebrities.

2021: Sotheby's becomes the official auction partner of the Hospices de Beaune. That year, the Pièce des Présidents raised a record 800,000 euros for a barrel.

Genuine commitment to charity

Usually featuring up to 51 different cuvées, the wine auction not only raises significant funds to be invested in medical equipment and the modernization of the hospital institution in the southern Côte d'Or territory, but also in services and care for the local community.

Profits generated recently contributed to the purchase of a new CT scanner and equipment for a new cardiovascular rehabilitation department, operational since January 2021. Proceeds from future sales will be used to complete the reconstruction of the Philippe Le Bon hospital in Beaune and to launch the reconstruction of the Seurre hospital.

Participating in this historic auction offers the opportunity not only to acquire vintage Burgundy wines, but also to contribute to one of the world's most historic charitable institutions, as well as to become part of the history and heritage of Burgundy itself.

The "Pièce de Charité" or "Pièce des présidents"

For the 163rd edition, the Hospices de Beaune are offering for sale a unique barrel from an exceptional bicentennial oak used to restore the nave and spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

This symbolic barrel will be sold for the benefit of two associations: the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM), which contributes to improving healthy life expectancy for everyone, and the Initiative de Recherche pour une Longévité en Bonne Santé (IRLB), which funds research projects into the assessment, prevention and treatment of age-related pathologies.

This year, a unique Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru from one of the finest terroirs of the Domaine des Hospices de Beaune has been selected for the barrel.

To find out more about this unique event, visit the Sotheby's website

The Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale: an obvious partnership with Sotheby's

Since 2021, Sotheby's has been the official partner of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale. In 2021, Sotheby's Wine achieved sales of $132 million at 53 auctions worldwide, with the sale of 14,150 lots. It's a market that's not drying up, and one that's of growing interest to collectors.

Sotheby's Wine

Sotheby's, the global emblem of art and luxury since 1744, operates in the global market through a state-of-the-art technological platform and a network of experts covering 40 countries and 50 categories, including Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, jewelry, watches, wines and spirits, and leather goods.

In addition to its wine and spirits auctions, in 2010 Sotheby's opened up to retail sales in prestigious locations in its New York and Hong Kong galleries.

Sotheby's Wine has had the privilege of auctioning many record-breaking wines and spirits in recent years. In 2020 alone, new world records were set for every bottle of Japanese whisky, every bottle of whisky produced by the Dalmore distillery, and every bottle of Cognac. Sotheby's Wine currently holds the world records for the most expensive whisky collection ever sold at auction, the most expensive private wine collection ever sold at auction, the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction and the most expensive bottle of spirits ever sold at auction.

Here again, Sotheby's proves its ability to understand its market and its buyers, opening the doors to the most sought-after art, wine and real estate markets.

Participating in this historic sale offers not only the chance to acquire exceptional wines, but also to contribute to one of the world's oldest and most prestigious charities. As a partner, Sotheby's reinforces this commitment to history, heritage and philanthropy in Burgundy.

Find out more about Sotheby's Wine, its showrooms and cellars

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