Living monument on the labels

Living monument on the labels

29.07.2018
Burgundy Hospice de Beaune — the world's oldest wine charity auction.

In 1443, the Chancellor of Burgundy, Nicolas Rolin (Nicolas Rolin) and his wife founded the hospice hospital (Hospices de Beaune, the second name of the Hotel Dieu). In addition, they allocated vineyards for the hospice so that they could provide shelter for the funds received from the sale of the harvest.

Over the next centuries, other residents of Burgundy donated their vineyards to Hospices. Initially, the land was donated in the hope of "a warm place in paradise, but later it was increasingly due to the absence of children, for tax privileges, and partly to leave behind a living monument on the labels." Traditionally, Hospice de Beaune issues special labels on which the names of the wines are the names of the donors of the vineyards, as well as the name of the farm where the wine was aged.

Now most of the vineyards are part of the communes of Côte de Beaune, a smaller part belongs to the Côte de Nuits region. With the exception of two sites - these are all exclusively prime and grand cru. Starting from 1859, wines from these vineyards are put up for auction and funds received from sales go to the needs of the hospital. By tradition, this auction takes place in Bonn on the third Sunday of November.

Today, the auction is no longer held in the hospital, but in a more convenient covered market, located on the same square, across the road. The purchase is made through accredited buyers - merchants who have the right to purchase wines at the Hospices de Beaune auction.

At auction in en primeur format, the wines of the best cru of the fresh harvest are sold. Lots consist of series - in one series there can be one 300-liter barrel, and maybe a dozen. The total lot size can reach up to 30-40 barrels.

As trading in Beaune gained attention, they gradually became the annual indicator of the quality and value of each new Burgundy crop. Today, the auction is considered the world's largest charitable wine auction in terms of the amount of funds raised. Only a charity auction in Napa Valley in the USA can argue with him.

The prices of wines set at this auction as an indicator of how much the players in the wine market are willing to pay for Burgundy wines in each particular year.

The hospital has long been moved from the historic center of the city, and in its place a museum was created. The mosaic roof of the Hôtel-Dieu is today considered a symbol of the city and region.

You can order Hospice de Beaune wine in the catalog.

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