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Annual Burgundy wine auction raises record 6.3 million euros

The poster for this year's Hospices de Beaune auction
The poster for this year's Hospices de Beaune auction DR

The 2013 auction of Burgundy wine at the historic Hospices de Beaune on Sunday raised a record 6.3 million euros with one barrel sold for charity going for 131,000 euros to a Chinese buyer.

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Fewer barrels were sold at the 153rd Hospices de Beaune auction, presided over by the Princess of Savoy, Clotilde Courau, than at the 2012 sale - 443 compared to 500.

But they raised more money, a sign that Burgundy stocks have gone down but prices keep rising.

There is less wine because of a low harvest in 2012 and storms that ravaged the vineyard last July, according to wine professionals.

"Despite the smallest harvest for 30 years, Christie's bidders from 21 countries faced each other with vigour for the 43 cuvées to score a historic success," Christie's Paris wine department head Michael Ganne said.

Prices of white burgundies, which have established the international benchmark for Chardonnay grape, are up 20-30 per cent this year, with barrels fetching 13,013 euros this year at the auction compared to 10,278 euros in 2012.

Winegrowers insist that quality has not suffered from a difficult year but are worried that buyers may find the price rises unacceptable.

The symbolic barrel sold for charity - 456 of a premier cru Meursault-Genvrieres - was sold to Chinese buyer Yan Hong Ca for 131,000 euros, confirming a growing interest in Asia for Burgundy - Chinese buyers' first love was the rival Bordeaux vineyard - and growing speculation, which is likely to push prices even higher.

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