New Zealand’s answer to the Hospices de Beaune
New Zealand’s answer to the Hospices de Beaune auction took place just a day before Burgundy’s annual charity wine sale.
The 2015 Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction on November 14, like the Beaune event, was raising money for a local hospice – Cranford, and raised NZ$141,000. Now in its 24th year, the 42 lots included cases and half barrels of wine, and money-can’t-buy experiences. At the French wine-only event, 575 barrels went under the hammer, raising a rather more hefty €11.3 million euros (NZ$18.4 million) .
Bidders of many nationalities attend the Hospices de Beaune auction, attempting to secure a parcel from the latest vintage but the make-up of the Hawke’s Bay event is less diverse and perhaps that’s an opportunity. There were some excellent wines up for sale, which look like absolute bargains compared to some of the prices paid at the Hospices de Beaune, particularly with the string of excellent vintages the region has enjoyed (2013, 2014 and 2015). Perhaps it might be an idea to get members of the international wine trade to attend the event in the future and see what they’re missing?
They’re missing a much more relaxed affair than the Hospices de Beaune. While a shirt and tie is the order of the day for most of those attending the Beaune sale, you can be a little more casual in the Hawke’s Bay, although some locals do go as far as putting on a tie and tucking their shirt in!
The laid-back atmosphere, the beer drinking during the event, and the informal presentation of the lots would be unthinkable at the Burgundy sale.
“I’m not going to tell you what’s in it but it’s bloody good,” said one winemaker before his lot of blended red went under the hammer.
Clearview Estate donated a personal blending session to make your own quarter-barrique of wine (56 litres), followed by what was likely to be a boozy meal. “This will be a lunch that you won’t remember” joked the winery’s idiosyncratic owner Tim Turvey at the auctioneer’s podium. It sold for $7,000.