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This weekend, a French tradition helps a centuries-old charity.
Shoppers often scoff at the prices of high-end French wines. But would you buy a bottle if it helped a good cause? For the 150th year running, Burgundy lovers get the chance to do just that this Sunday.
Hospices de Beaune, a hospital for the poor established in 1443, raises much of its funding through a wine auction every November. The Domaine des Hospices de Beaune owns about 150 acres of donated vineyards, much of the land classified as Grand and Premier Crus. Bidders at the auction buy full barrels of wine (which they're responsible for aging and bottling), with most of the proceeds going toward new medical equipment.
Since 2005 the auction has been run by Christie's. In 2005 and 2006 the Hospices de Beaune auction realized sales of more than 5 million euros. This year, the auction has a chance at generating greater returns through a new service that allows anyone in the world to place a bid online.
Not many of us have the bucks to bid on full barrels, but some buyers turn around and sell the wines--so it's not uncommon that you come across a bottle labeled "Hospices de Beaune" in the wine shop. Know that if you buy it, you're contributing to a worthy cause.
Now that's something to drink to.
Tags: burgundy, cote d or