Hospices de Beaune 2021: Crowdfunding Syndicate Launch

Burgundy fine wine drinkers will be delighted to hear that we are preparing for the upcoming annual Hospices de Beaune auction next month, and are now taking the preliminary call for the 2021 crowdfunded syndicate. As those who have participated in previous sell-out Hospices de Beaune & Nuits auctions and other Club Projects will know, this is always a hugely exciting time at Honest Grapes. As such we are all delighted to once again offer this wonderful chance to participate in a slice of history and add something very special to your cellar!

For those less familiar with the Hospices de Beaune, the origins of the auction lie with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin's founding of the Hôtel Dieu (later to be known as the Hospices de Beaune) in 1443 to serve as a hospital and safe haven for the poor. Over the years, more than 60 hectares of Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards have been donated to the estate and since 1859, on the third weekend of November, the Hospices de Beaune has held an annual wine auction to raise money for the hospital’s upkeep and other charitable projects.

Hospices de Nuits
Previous projects include the exciting Hospices de Nuits

Honest Grapes selects the wines, organises the syndicate, underwrites the project and élevage (maturation) in partnership with an illustrious winemaker. The wines are produced in very small quantities, so Club Members gain the benefit of top grade exclusive wines. Owning their own Hospices wine is on the bucket list for most Burgundy lovers, and our syndicates allows members to own a smaller share of the better quality wines rather than financing their own barrel (although as per below – we can organise whole barrels too, bottles from which which make particularly impressive gifts for friends and clients!).

The Vintage & The Wine

2021 posed serious challenges to winemakers around Europe, with yields in Burgundy severely affected by April frosts, and mildew & oidium pressure. Fortunately August brought stable, dry weather, helping the vines to recover, and then an incredible September brought ideal harvest conditions. The Hospices' head winemaker Ludivine Griveau is delighted (and relieved!) with the early samples, which show brilliant acidity, sugar levels & alcohol. The grapes were able to ripen beautifully in September and quality is expected to be very high. The caveat of course is the yields, and Ludivine reports this is likely to be the lowest Hospices production on record.

We will be looking to crowdfund barrels of two cuvées this year: a beautiful 1er cru Beaune/Savigny or village Volnay/Pommard, and an illustrious Grand Cru Corton. Early signs suggest that quality in these appellations will be especially high this year. This also offers two distinct price points for syndicate members, although we anticipate many will want a share in both! It's also worth bearing in mind that the whole of Burgundy has been affected by low yields, so this is a great opportunity to get some 2021 in the cellar now as we anticipate allocations are going to be more fiercely contested than ever.

Etienne and Brian of De Montille
Etienne de Montille & Brian Sieve of Maison de Montille

Syndicate Membership

Wines from the vintage 2021 will be purchased at the auction on 21st November 2021 and will be ready for delivery in Q1 of 2024. The auction price paid is somewhat uncertain, and given the hard frosts on 7th April, this is anticipated to be a record low year for the number of barrels available, and as such we are expecting record demand this year!

Membership options include everything from full and half barrels, to single shares and you can even purchase a share with a group of friends. We'll have a better understanding of pricing closer to the time and ask for 80% up front, and whilst the actual price paid won't be known until after the auction, we will do our best to consult with the syndicate if we feel we need to go much over the nominal share price we’ve set. If you would like us to buy a less expensive wine or try to get a bigger Premier Cru or Grand Cru, please let us know – we are building the syndicate on your behalf!

We will also organise events with Tom, Nathan and the winemaker in London and Burgundy during the maturation period of the wine so that syndicate members can enjoy the fun of seeing the wine develop.

We have not yet finalised the selection of éleveur, although we can promise that it will be one of the top houses in Burgundy. The reason for our late selection is that, in this vintage more than ever, we feel that we need to tailor our selection to the cuvées of barrels that we purchase for the syndicate. Four well-known winemakers have offered to undertake the elaboration for us. The shortlisted candidates (in confidence) are Domaine de Montille (selected last year, pictured above) or Domaine Jane Eyre (below), our friend and celebrated micronegoce.

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre

Some of the most memorable projects we've offered include crowdfunding syndicates for previous vintages of Hospices de Beaune & Nuit, a barrel of Jane Eyre Charmes-Chambertin, and our recent Napa Valley project with Jonathan Maltus, all of which have been sell-out successes! All who take full shares will also enjoy the same benefits as Club Pontet Labrie and Hospices Syndicate Members, and if you have any questions about participation or want to join, please do let us know and get in touch at info@honestgrapes.co.uk.