“Bravo to all”, launched from the top of the platform Frédéric Drouhin, president of the great Burgundy wine house that bears his name, after having won crazy auctions within a collective of traders which resulted in a new record for “the presidents’ room”. This prestigious cask is traditionally dedicated to a charity other than the Hospices.
The recipe for this “piece”, as a cask is called in Burgundy, was this year reserved for the Princess Margot and Vision du Monde children’s aid associations.
“The most depressing thing is seeing a child suffer,” said Mr. Drouhin, who himself lost a daughter to cancer.
“In France, 2,500 children suffer from cancer every day, 20% of whom will not survive,” said Muriel Hattab, president of Princess Margot, the name of her daughter who did not survive the disease.
The 228 liter cask (288 bottles) was sold for 810,000 euros (excluding costs), beating by a hair the previous record set last year, at 800,000 euros.
“Bravo”, also ignited actor Benoît Magimel, who came to raise the stakes with host Flavie Flament, to the cheers of some 800 buyers gathered under the Halles of the capital of Burgundy wines.
The emotion passed, the bidding resumed with fervor, making succeed the blows of hammer with a disconcerting speed.
This is because, this year, the number of lots is reaching new heights. 802 pieces are up for grabs, not far from the highest of 843 lots dating back to 2018.
The harvest was indeed abundant in 2022 in Burgundy, the heavy rains of June having enabled the vines to resist the summer drought well to the point of forming an “exceptional” vintage.
“We have gone from one extreme to the other: from the 2021 vintage, the smallest for 40 years, to a very abundant vintage”, sums up Amayès Aouli, European director at Sotheby’s Wine, organizer of the sale.
The 2021 vintage had indeed been cut in half by a devastating spring frost. Only 356 casks had been offered for sale that year, something unheard of since 1977.
The abundance of the 2022 harvest has unleashed forecasts of new records: after a new high for the presidents’ coin, many were therefore waiting for the absolute record for total revenue to also be crossed. The previous one only dates from 2018, with 13.97 M EUR (without fees).
Nobody dares to make a prediction but an official of the organization admits, on condition of anonymity, to be certain that this number will be beaten. “15 million euros would be a disappointment,” he said, predicting an amount rather close to 20 million, or even exceeding it.
– “When Asia starts to love” –
“We feel the appetite of buyers,” confirms Mr. Aouli again. “After the Covid years and the travel restrictions, a lot of customers came from afar,” he adds.
China’s Lin Legun, a buyer for clients in the Middle Empire, is one of them. Burgundy wines are of “enormous” interest to the Chinese, she explains to AFP. “And when Asia begins to love a rare product…”, she continues in an allusion to the recent surge in prices.
“The demand for Burgundy wines continues to increase”, adds Marie-Anne Ginoux, director of Sotheby’s France, who points out that her house established a record amount of wine sales in 2021, at 132 million dollars, made almost half by Burgundies.
In addition to the “presidents’ room”, the proceeds from the other lots are intended for equipment and the renovation of the four hospitals and six nursing homes, i.e. a thousand beds, which are currently grouped together by the Hospices Civils.
The latter do not receive any aid from the State for these expenses, which are therefore entirely financed by the vines given to the Hospices since their foundation in 1443.