Monday November 19, 2012
French wine auction raises record 5.9 mn euros
DIJON, France: The Hospices de Beaune, an annual charity auction that is one of the highlights for France's wine world, raised a record 5.9 million euros ($7.5 million) this year, organisers said on Monday.
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, France's former first lady, added a touch of supermodel sparkle to Sunday's auction, held for the 152nd time in what was a hospital for the poor founded in the 15th century.
The auction was the highlight of three days of festivities centred on the region's celebrated food and wine. British auctioneers Christie's now run the event that attracts wine connoisseurs from all over the world.
Bruni-Sarkozy wielded the hammer during bidding for the prestigious "piece du president" (the chairman's item), a 350-litre barrel of Corton Grand Cru, Cuvee Charlotte Dumay, the proceeds of which go to a different charity every year.
"For 200,000, I will deliver the wine. At 250,000, my husband will join me," she said.
The successful bidder was a Ukrainian businessman, Igor Yankovsky, who snapped it up for 270,000 euros.
It has been an extremely tough year for Burgundy's wine-makers with a tripple whammy of late frosts, hail and mildew combining to cut yields by a third from last year's levels.
The Hospices' own production has not been spared. A shortage of grapes has resulted in two of the 46 cuvees, or blends, made under the Hospices label not being produced this year and the total number of barrels up for auction was 512, sharply down from 761 last year.-AFP