Yesterday saw the sale of the 163rd edition of the Hospices de Beaune wine auction – the oldest charity wine auction – which delivered a total of €25.1 million including all the auction fees.
As last year, the previously covid-hit editions of the sale were forgotten as an audience 700 people, including the bidders, packed into the sales room in Beaune. Last year there was interest from 30 different countries – this year a mere 24 – but the sale still endured for 7 hours as three auctioneers worked in shifts to get through the 770 lots.
Whilst the headline is ‘only’ for the second most important total achieved, we should note that there was a modest 32 fewer barrels sold in 2023 – a small surprise when you consider that the average domaine made more wine in 2023 than in 2022 – but the triage of the Hospices was far from modest in 2023 and the wines will only benefit from that. Still, the average price per barrel (see the table below) was down about 15% vs last year making it only the third highest total – though nearly 50% higher than in 2020. The result of two consecutive ‘almost full’ vintages? Let’s hope so. Whilst this is, of course, a charity auction, another 15% lower next year would be a good indication to the market as the Hospices has long been considered the bellwether of burgundy’s market pricing – though that connection has been tenuous for a while!
2023 Pièce des Présidents
The Pièce des Présidents (Presidents’ Barrel), sold for €350,000 (before commission) to the owner of Château de Couches whose château is known as “Margaret of Burgundy.” The contents of this year’s barrel was part of the Hospice’s Mazis-Chambertin, Cuvée Madeleine Collignon – donated to the Hospices in 1976 by Jean Collignon, which was subsequently named in memory of his mother. As noted in previous entries before the sale, the barrel was made from the wood of an oak tree which was also used to restore the spire of Notre Dame in Paris and the barrel itself was made by the Tonnellerie Cadus.
A few stats
The hammer total for the 163rd Hospices de Beaune wine sale was €23,279,800 including the Pièce des Présidents. The vintage 21 and 22 totals (Sotheby’s) also include the President’s barrel – the earlier years’ values (Christie’s) are stated without including the President’s barrel. All the figures are ‘net,’ so without the respective auctioneers’ commissions.
|Vintage||Sale Total € millions||Price per barrel||Number of barrels|
*The 770 lots on offer comprised 753 barrels of red and white wines, 1 Presidents’ Barrel, and 16 barrels of spirits.