France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Beaune Wine Auction, France
This charity wine auction of the Hospices Civils de Beaune has been held annually since 1859.




The Hôtel-Dieu was a charity hospital established in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor of the Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Guigone de Salins. Today it is a wonderful museum and its colorful tile roof a symbol of the region. Its annual charity wine auction—the most famous charity auction in the world—supports the ongoing work of the Hôtel-Dieu des Hospices Civils de Beaune.

Hotel Dieu Beaune France

The hospital didn't only serve the poor, and over the centuries various grateful people bequeathed vineyards to the Hôtel-Dieu des Hospices Civils de Beaune. The first donation came in 1459, from Jean Pamplays and his wife. The holdings include several grands crus wines, which are famous worldwide.

  Blason of Hospices de Beaune, France

If you drive on the Route des Grands Crus, a small road that meanders through the important vineyards of the Côte d'Or, keep an eye out for the coat of arms of the Hospices de Beaune (left), which indicates those vineyards that are part of the Hospice's holdings. This example is from the Musée du Vin.

Since 1859, the Hôtel-Dieu des Hospices Civils de Beaune has held a charity wine auction on the third Sunday of November. All of the proceeds of this auction are dedicated to the charitable and religious works of the old Hôtel-Dieu/Hospices Civils de Beaune, as well as to new civil and secular hospitals.

Originally the sale was done by candelight, with successful bids made determined after two candles had burned down. Modern time constraints have largely stopped this romantic process, though it may be used on a small number of items.

The auction itself has become the centerpiece of a weekend of festivities, including dinners, concerts, street performances, and of course wine tastings. There's a festival atmosphere around the whole event, and it raises significant sums for its beneficiaries.

Since 2005, the Hospices has worked with Christie's Auction House on the sale, which has opened it to private buyers as well as to professionals.

So if you find yourself in Beaune in November, even if you're not interested in buying wine, you can enjoy the celebrations around the auction.

About Beaune

Best Beaune Hotels

What to See & Do in Beaune

Beaune Tourist Information

Beaune Restaurants


Excursions in Burgundy

Clos de Vougeot

About Dijon

About Burgundy



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Tastevins, Beaune, France

Above, A collection of Tastevins, or wine tasting cups. They were a traditional gift to boys of Burgundy on the occasion of their christening or weaning.

Below, Poster of St-Vincent, patron saint of wine growers, in nearby Dijon.


St Vincent, Dijon, France

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