This weekend in Burgundy, France, another record was broken at the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction, with the winning bid of €800,000 ($899,920) for a barrel of wine. But this wasn’t just any barrel – it is known as the Pièce des Présidents, and supports charity. This year’s winning bidder was OenoGroup, specializing in fine wine investments. The barrel sale profits will contribute towards the fight against female violence and breast cancer.
“Leading a fine wine boutique entirely run by a female team,” states Luisa Martinello, General Manager of OenoHouse, “I am very proud to see the extraordinary milestones achieved by the fine wine industry every day. I hold both (charity) organizations close to my heart, and so it’s a genuine honor to witness this historical moment.”
The two organizations to receive the proceeds are Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes to fight against violence towards women, and the Institut Curie, to aid medical research against breast cancer. The price for the barrel broke last year’s record of the previous highest at €660,000 in 2020. The auction is coordinated by Sotheby’s.
The 2021 Winning Wine Barrel from Corton
This year the record-breaking barrel was from the hill of Corton in the Corton Renardes vineyard of Burgundy. Winemaker, Ludivine Grivea, of Domaine des Hospices de Beaune, worked with the vineyard owners and barrel maker, François Frères, to craft the unique cuvee.
“From the vineyard manager, winemaker, barrel manufacturer, to the auction house and ourselves,” reported Justin Knock MW, OenoGroup’s Director of Wine, “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. Domestic violence and cancer are silent foes we should not tolerate, so we are delighted to support better outcomes for women, the people of Burgundy and the collectors whose love of this wine will continue to improve the well-being of people long into the future.”
About the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction
Established in 1859, the Hospice de Beaune Auction, is considered to be the oldest wine auction in the world. Each year local Burgundy wineries work with Hospice de Beaune winemakers to craft a special barrels of wine to donate to the auction. Bidders arrive from around the world the third weekend in November to bid on barrels, with the proceeds going towards various charities.
The auction has been the inspiration for many other famous wine auctions in the US, such as Auction Napa Valley, the Naples Winter Wine Festival, and the Sonoma County Wine Auction.
Is Covid Inspiring More Generosity at Wine Auctions?
Other charity wine auction records have been set during this second year of Covid as well, with the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. This happened at the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Carnivale du Vin in New Orlearns, earlier this month where a single 6-liter bottle of wine was sold for one million dollars. The previous record was $558,000 for a bottle of 1945 Romanee Conti at a Sotheby’s auction in 2018.
The new record was set with a 6-liter bottle called The Setting, and made by winemaker Jesse Katz. It was produced from the Glass Slipper Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon in the Coomsville AVA of Napa Valley, with a regular retail price of $185 for a 750 ml bottle. The winning bidder was Don Steiner, CEO of Profit Recovery Partners.
Perhaps the time spent in lockdown and the subsequent months of social distancing is inspiring more generosity at wine charity auctions. After all, wine is one of the great pleasures of life to share with others, and giving back to community is a close second.