The Hospices de Beaune’s charitable vocation
The proceeds from the auction are used to fund the Hospices de Beaune’s charitable work: improvement in care facilities, modernisation of the infrastructures, conservation of historical monuments including the Hôtel-Dieu and its famous museum. The money raised in 2018, €14 M, represents a significant proportion of the Hospices Civils de Beaune’s overall budget. Thanks to this auction, the Hôpital de Beaune has, in recent years, been able to launch a major project for the development and reconstruction of the hospital, from which the inhabitants of Beaune and the surrounding villages will all benefit.
An auction within the auction: the Pièce du Président, also known as the Pièce de Charité
Each year the auction of one particular lot attracts the attention of the entire world. The auction of this lot is the highlight of the event and reminds us again of the Hospices de Beaune’s charitable vocation. An entire barrel (or sometimes two barrels) of an exceptional wine, that does not appear in the catalogue, is sold à la bougie (by candle) as it always has been. It is the Pièce du Président (President’s barrel) also known as the Pièce de Charité (Charity barrel).
This wine, generally a grand cru from a specific terroir and donated by the Hospices de Beaune, is sold to raise money for one or more charities, who will share the proceeds between them. Each year well known personalities (actors, musicians, writers, etc.) who are usually patrons of these charities will conduct this special auction within the auction, displaying talent and sensibility, becoming the auctioneer for the purpose of taking the bidding as high as possible, all for a very good cause!
The current record price paid for this charity barrel was achieved in 2015, when an anonymous buyer acquired a barrel of Corton Renardes Grand Cru for €480,000. Among other remarkable performances, we would mention that of the well-known French actor Fabrice Lucchini who put on a real show, setting the auction alight and achieving the record price at the time of €400,000 for the barrel in question.
Albert Bichot: also the #1 buyer of the Pièce du Président thanks to the generosity of our customers
In the last 12 years, 5 of Albert Bichot’s customers have acquired 6 times the Pièce du Président and, of course, entrusted its ageing to our care. This is perhaps not surprising because, in addition to our technical savoir-faire in the ageing of the wines, Albert Bichot and our customers share the values of the Hospices. Its support each year for the charities’ various different causes inspires our customers and our company to champion the Hospices’ motto: great wines for a great cause.
The Pièces du Président (charity barrel) bought and aged by Albert Bichot
- 2004 : Mazis-Chambertin Cuvée Madeleine Collignon – 51 000 € for James Thomson
- 2008 : Pommard 1er Cru Dames de la Charité – 50 000 € for James Thomson
- 2011 : Corton Clos du Roi Baronne du Baÿ – 110 000 € for Stephen Williams
- 2012 : Corton grand cru, cuvée Charlotte Dumay – 270 000 € for a customer from Ukraine
- 2014 : Corton Bressandes – 220 000 € for a group of customers from Quebec, Canada
- 2017 : Corton Grand Cru Clos du Roi and Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières (2 barrels) – 230 000 € for Mr Leung