Volumes down at the 148th Hospices auction
17 Nov 2008 by Julia Harding MW

The lowest number of barrels in 21 years went on sale at the Hospices de Beaune auction yesterday and prices for red wines were dramatically lower than last year.

This year's total of 544 barrels of the Hospices' 2008 burgundy compares with 607 last year (-10,4%), 680 in 2006 and 789 in 2005. Christie's, who run the sale, said there were several reasons for this: "a difficult flowering of the vines, unfavourable weather during the summer and a rigorous sorting of the grapes at harvest time".

Average barrel prices were down on last year: white wine 10,171 euros  (-2.45%), red wine 4,157 euros (-31.53%), overall average 5,196 euros (-26.42%). You can download a spreadsheet with the average barrel price for each cuvée, 2000-2008 (excluding premiums), here.

Nevertheless, the sold total was 3,075,481 euros (£2,644,422 or $3,898,516; including premium but excluding VAT) for the 544 barrels: 450 barrels of red wine and 94 barrels of white wine totalled 3,024,676 euros. The special President’s Barrel benefiting two charitable organisations sold for 50,000 euros.

The new Cuvée being offered this year, Pommard-Epenots Premier Cru, Cuvée Dom Goblet, sold for the highest average price of any Pommard in the auction: 5,750 euros per barrel.

Overall, a conspiracy of Nature and Economics.