Semi-Marathon de la Vente des Vins de Beaune
Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction: each year, professionals, connoisseurs and wine lovers gather on the weekend of the third Sunday in November for festivities in the purest Burgundy tradition.
Numerous events punctuate this weekend of festivities: street performances, folklore parade, gourmet village and half-marathon through the streets and vineyards of Beaune. Beaune’s great wine houses compete to be the most creative and organise prestigious tastings: wines from the Hospices, rare vintages, appellations from all over Burgundy and thematic or gourmet tastings are on the menu. In Beaune and on the vineyard slopes, winemakers offer tastings of old and new vintages in their cellars. Gathered into wine-making brotherhoods, they organise gala dinners and inductions of new ambassadors of Burgundy wines.
The highlight of the weekend, it’s organised by Christie's and takes place on the Sunday afternoon in the Halles de Beaune. Wines are offered for sale from an estate made up of donations and bequests for over 500 years, totalling more than 60 hectares, the majority of which is classified as Grands Crus and Premiers Crus. This charity wine sale acts as an international barometer for the market in prestigious wines and brings together Beaune’s major trading houses and buyers from across the world. However, due to its charitable nature, wine prices generally far exceed their usual course.
Since 2007, Christie's Live allows buyers to attend the auction live via the Internet and bid from their personal computers worldwide. The profits from the sale are used for heritage conservation and hospitals. Following the sale, a great candlelit dinner is held in the medieval stronghold of the Hôtel Dieu.
Each year, the Hospices de Beaune support one or more charities represented by a personality from the world of arts and entertainment. The President's lot* is put up for sale in a traditional and picturesque manner, that is to say, by "candlelight", and the profits are donated to the charity supported.
The last presidents of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale 2019 were:
The “President's Piece” is put up for sale in a traditional and picturesque way, that is to say, by "candle", and the profits are donated to the work being supported.
The lot equates to a Burgundy barrel, the equivalent of 228 litres or 300 bottles
The wine sale is the heart of a true "Rabelaisian" feast and forms part of an event called "The Three Glorious Days of Burgundy". It is preceded on the Saturday by the "Chapter" of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (Brotherhood of the Knights of the Tastevin) and a dinner at Clos de Vougeot. It is followed on noon on Monday by a lunch, the "Paulée", at Château de Meursault. During this traditional meal, each guest brings their own bottles, giving this event a roundness and conviviality typical of Burgundy.