Some notable annual auctions

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Nevertheless, traditional auctions survive, most notably that of the hospices de beaune. This former medieval hospice in Burgundy derives a substantial proportion of income for the modern hospital associated with it from the sale of wines produced from vineyards given as bequests over the centuries. Every third Sunday in November, the Hospices holds a charity auction accompanied by a long weekend of gargantuan feasting and decadent celebration (see trois glorieuses). At the traditional candle auction, the lots are named after the Hospices’ benefactors, each comprising a number of new 228-l/60-gal barrels. Since 2005 Christie’s has partnered with the Hospices de Beaune, and together they organize the annual sale with tastings of the wines all over the world. In 2014, the 154th Hospices de Beaune auction, the sale achieved a record total of €8,887,888 million ($11.1 m). The success of the Hospices de Beaune auction in combining the sale of wines with the glare of publicity has been the role model for a number of latter-day imitators, from limoux to the napa Valley.