It’s that time of year again and the latest wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune will soon be upon us – the 162nd such auction.
On Tuesday 20th September the team of the Hospices made a short press conference (in the Hotel Dieu) to discuss not just the upcoming auction but also from Ludivine Griveau came information on their 2022 harvest and the domaine’s move to organic certification.
In the presence of Alain Suguenot, the mayor of Beaune, François Poher, Directeur & Président of the Hospices Civils de Beaune began the meeting by pointing out that because of the Domaine Viticole of the Hospice de Beaune, Beaune was one of the only hospitals in France that accept no government money for their investments. Additionally “Commerce is important and there is much discussion of the price appreciation of burgundy wine but here, at least, that money has a cause and is used – there is also the link to our movement towards organic viticulture because the health of the people in the vines, around the vines and the general public who drink wine – with moderation – is, for us, paramount.”
And so to the comments of winemaker and head of the Domaine, Ludivine Griveau:
First on Organic Certification
“This year was the second year of our journey to organic certification. We want to convert the whole domaine – and that’s a tremendously large project of 60 hectares. You might ask, ‘Why not before?’ My answer is that I wasn’t ready! We needed to observe, we needed to fully understand the methods that we would be employing, to have the unity of purpose in our teams, and to adapt our vines for the change to come. But organic or not, our aim continues to be to reduce the dose of treatments. Organic isn’t perfect, we still need to use, for instance, copper, but our objective is to have grapes that have been produced from organic viticulture and we then sell those baby organic wines to the negociants at the auction…”
Second on the 2022 vintage at the Hospices
“It wasn’t a harsh winter but it was one with ‘correct’ rainfall. Frost brought many worries in April but didn’t affect us too badly. The growth in the vines got underway quite early, indeed the growth became quite explosive before super conditions for flowering. We had only ‘moderate intensity’ from the usual maladies and the vines resisted the dry weather well. The volume was generous as are many vintages that follow a frosty year – like 2021. Growth remained clean and early though the veraison wasn’t particularly fast. In August we checked over 120 parcels for the levels of maturity before starting our harvest in Pouilly-Fuissé on the 25th of August. We waited until the 29th to cut our first grapes in the Côte d’Or. I see nice density but not too much alcohol for the whites. Our 46 tanks of reds were full! There were only 16 tanks of reds in 2021!*”
*The smallest number of auction lots since 1977!
So, it seems that at this stage the team are very happy with both the quality and the quantity of wines for 2022. Given the quantity, even if the prices soften a little, it looks like the turnover of the sale will be heading for a record in 2022.
We had a question and answer session after the comments of Ludivine where, unfortunately, both Alain Suguenot and François Poher left the stage – I had a question but it was more for those two gentlemen than Ludivine – so I simply write it below to ‘leave it on the table…’
And my question:
“The contacts are both deep and old between the domaine viticole of the Hospices de Beaune and the domaine viticole of the Hospices de Nuits. Do the panel think that, in the future, a single auction would be a more beneficial approach?”
This question was prompted by my, long-held, impression the auction of the wines of Nuits has been the ‘smaller brother’ of the same in Beaune and that it, particularly, would be likely to financially benefit.