Hospices de Beaune
Beaune, Côte-de-Beaune, Bourgogne, France
Founded in 1443 as a chartitable institution by the Duke of Burgundy, the Hotel-Dieu is a fabulous building in the very centre of Beaune. The Hospice de la Charite was later endowed by Antoine Rousseau and it was these two charitable institutions together that became the Hospice de Beaune; Hotel-Dieu now preserved as a museum and considered one of the world's most popular vinous tourist attractions.
The vineyards owned by the Hospice de Beaune comprise 41 seperate cuvees that cover a total of 58 hectares. They are almost all of premier cru or grand cru classification which makes the Hospice de Beaune one of the biggest names in Burgundy. All the vineyard holdings were bequeathed to the Hospice over many, many years.
The wines are sold annually in barrel by auction in the third weekend of November when they are barely a month old, and they are done so in the name of each benefactor. The juice produced from the younger vines is sold-off in bulk to negociants. Since 2005 any person has been permitted to bid and purchase the wines but only local merchants may age and bottle them. They are always the first of each vintage to be sold and so set the price for that vintage.