Burgundy wine auction hit by economy, weather

Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:28pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

BEAUNE, France (Reuters) - Battered by storm damage and the weak global economy, French Burgundy wine prices fell at an annual charity auction held Sunday, experts said.

The Beaune Hospices auction, which features the 200-year-old tradition of bidding for the final lot until two candles flicker out, traditionally sets the price trends for the latest vintage.

Edinburgh hotel and restaurant owner James Thomson, wearing a kilt, placed the successful bid of 50,000 euros for the final exhibit, a 228-liter oak barrel of Pommard Premier Cru red wine.

The equivalent barrel, enough for about 300 bottles, went for 65,000 euros in 2007 and a record 200,000 euros in 2006.

Clos de la Roche, Cyrot Chaudron went under the hammer for an average of 30,000 euros a barrel Sunday, down from 35,667 euros in 2007 but up from 25,000 in 2006.

Experts said concerns over the international economy had capped prices this year, along with hail storms that battered vineyards in the eastern French region during the summer.

"We have seen prices come unstuck since September and to a lesser extent since June," said Louis-Fabrice Latour, president of the federation of Burgundy wine traders and producers.

"We are worried but not pessimistic. We got through the 1991 crisis which was much worse. Now we have lower interest rates and the dollar is strengthening, which could help us."

However, the British pound has fallen sharply against the euro since the crisis erupted and Britain, one of the main export markets for French wine, faces fears of a deep recession.   Continued...