After many twists and turns, the sale of the Hospices de Beaune, a sort of international Mecca for Burgundy wines which was to take place on Sunday, was finally postponed by decision of the prefecture, the latter announced on Saturday evening.
“The discussions that were held did not lead to a solution capable of verifying health security in such a short period of time,” declared the sub-prefect of Beaune, Myriel Porteous. “Under these conditions, in agreement with the mayor of Beaune, the prefect of Côte-d’Or considers it preferable to postpone this event in order to preserve its serenity, to gain the support of all the actors and to guarantee good security, ”she added.
“The State services will naturally continue to work with the organizers to identify as soon as possible and taking into account the health requirements the progress of this important event which contributes to the financial balance of the Hospices de Beaune and which participates to the reputation of Burgundy wines on our territory and beyond ”, assured the sub-prefect.
Procrastination over the Hospices format
The prefecture of Côte d’Or had authorized in early November the holding of the sale of Hospices but the “new changes” made by the Hospices after a suspension decreed, Friday evening, by the Council of Voluntary Sales (CVV), regulatory body, ” do not ensure health security ”.
The CVV had on Friday decreed the suspension of these auctions, the oldest in the world in the world of wines, considering in particular that they “violate (have) the provisions of the decree of October 29 prescribing the general measures necessary to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic ”. The CVV, however, said it was open to discussions.
These lasted all day Saturday, the Hospices Civils offering a solution that would have divided the auction room in two, isolating the buyers from the auctioneers. This solution was accepted on Saturday evening by the CVV, which had withdrawn its suspension, but the prefecture ruled that these new changes no longer guaranteed health security.
Part of the revenue for the 2020 vintage was to go to hospital staff
In a reaction, the LR mayor of Beaune, Alain Suguenot, specified that the decision to postpone the sale had been taken “by mutual agreement” with the prefecture, evoking the possibility of organizing it “very soon, as quickly as possible. possible ”, or even“ just before the holidays ”. In a press release, the Hospices also wanted the sale to be organized “as soon as possible”. “Our History is marked by much more difficult trials and we have always overcome them”, underline the Hospices.
On Sunday, six hundred and thirty pieces of wine, all of 228 liters, were to be offered at this 160th sale, which must be sponsored from a distance by singer Marc Lavoine. Last year, these same auctions totaled 12 million euros. Each year they attract many bidders in France, but also from abroad, as far as Japan. This time, most of them had to follow the sale by phone or Internet.
Part of the revenue for the 2020 vintage was to go to hospital staff. The Hospices Civils de Beaune indeed manage a hospital that treats patients with Covid-19. At the beginning of November, very strict measures were enacted by the CVV, with the consequences that all auctions must be done online during confinement.