Sarkozys will personally drop off the wine after record Hospices de Beaune auction
The organisers of the Hospices de Beaune, an annual charity auction which is one of the highlights of the year for the French wine industry, raised a record 5.9 million euros this year, organisers said on Monday.
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, France's former first lady, added extra glamour to Sunday's auction, held for the 152nd time in what was built as a hospital for the poor in the 15th century.
The auction was the highlight of three days of festivities centred on the region's world famous food and wine. The British auction house Christie's now runs the event.
Bruni-Sarkozy wielded the hammer during bidding for the prestigious "piece du president" (the chairman's item), a 350-litre barrel of Corton Grand Cru, Cuvee Charlotte Dumay, the proceeds of which go to a different charity every year.
"For 200,000, I will deliver the wine. At 250,000, my husband will join me," she promised.
It looks like the couple will be dropping off the barrel, as it was sold for 270,000 euros to a Ukrainian businessman, Igor Yankovsky.
It has been an extremely difficult year for Burgundy's winemakers, with late frosts, hail and mildew combining to cut yields by a third compared to last year's levels.
Two of the 46 cuvees, or blends, made under the Hospices label weren’t produced this year because of a shortage of grapes and the total number of barrels up for auction was 512, sharply down from 761 last year.