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Fine wine news roundup: 13-19 March



Sotheby’s to auction limited edition Primum Familiae Vini 2020 collection

Sotheby’s is set to auction off the first case of the limited edition Primum Familiae Vini 2020 collection this month, with bids starting at £30,000.

The case – one of just 12 – contains a dozen bottles of vintages selected by the family-owned estates within the PFV group, which was founded in 1992. Highlights of this year’s case include Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 2008, Sassicaia 2017, Vega Sicilia Unico 2010, Chateau Haut Brion 2009 and Mouton Rothschild 2015, among others.

The winning bidder will also receive a Primum Familiae Vini ‘passport’, entitling them to visit and dine at each of the 12 estates within the group with up to three guests. The winner will also be given a tour of the 12 estates – spanning Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany and the Douro Valley – by a family member.

“With every bottle destined to become a legend from their respective regions, the 12 cases represent the first and only time that these great vintages will be available together,” said Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s wine.

Bids are being taken for the collection until the online sale ends on 29 March.


Record results for 60th Hospices de Nuits auction

The 60th annual Hospices de Nuit auction yielded record results when it took place last weekend. Despite complications from the ongoing pandemic and a lower number of lots going under the hammer, takings were up 19% compared to the 2020 sale.

The auction, which will benefit the Institut Pasteur hospital, realised a total €1,923,000. The event included the record-breaking sale of a barrel of Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint-Georges Cuvee Georges Faiveley, which went for €32,000.

Meanwhile the charity lot – 228 litres of Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Les Saint-Georges – went under the hammer for €49,380, also setting a new record. Elsewhere, the single white lot of the sale, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Les Terres Blanches, Cuvee Pierre de Peme, sold for €54,000.

The Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges is a winemaking hospital founded in 1270. It works in the same way as its illustrious neighbour, the Hospices de Beaune – which was founded in 1443 – by combining medical activity and a prestigious wine estate.


Kent named one of the world’s top 10 wine destinations

Kent has been earmarked as one of the top 10 ‘Grape Escapes’ by the International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC).

Chosen from a selection of more than 100 possible destinations, Kent will now feature in the IWINETC’s ’10 Grape Escape Destinations’ series of webinars, which have covered the likes of Champagne and Sicily, as well as more unlikely wine regions such as Bulgaria and Armenia.

“We chose to include Kent in the webinar series as England is probably not the first place a wine lover and wine tourist would think of visiting. Tour operators and travel agents working the niche market of wine tourism are always interested in discovering new destinations to keep their customers coming back each year. So why not England in 2021 or 2022?” said IWINETC director Anthony Swift.

The Kent-focused webinar will take place on 25 March and is free to attend.


Europe endures worst summer droughts for millennia

Europe has seen more severe summer droughts since 2015 than it has over the last 2,110 years, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

The study, published in Nature Geoscience, found that ‘human-caused climate change’ is the main driving factor behind the increasingly serious droughts. The researchers were able to reconstruct summer weather over the two millennia by analysing the rings of both living and dead oak trees in modern day Czech Republic and Germany.

Producers and winemakers across Europe are already bracing themselves for the consequences of climate change, with many exploring new processes and grape varieties better able to withstand high temperatures and water stress.

However, as the report notes, climate change does not mean it will become drier everywhere. “Some places may get wetter or colder, but extreme conditions will become more frequent, which could be devastating for agriculture, ecosystems and societies as a whole,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Ulf Buntgen.


Luxury ‘wine wall’ includes motion sensors, facial recognition and a robotic sommelier

If you’re looking for a particularly impressive way to show off your wine collection and are prepared to pay top-dollar for it, look no further than WineCab’s visually arresting ‘wine wall’ installation (pictured above).

As well as acting as a display system, the temperature-controlled wine wall includes an integrated AI system that acts as a ‘virtual sommelier’, offering food and wine pairing suggestions and personalised recommendations. Once you’ve decided on a wine, the wall’s robotic arm will select and serve your bottle of choice through a hatch.

Security features, meanwhile, include facial recognition to grant access to the collection, motion sensors to detect unwanted movement and the ability to lock out single bottles as desired.

The wall can be configured and customised as required, but prices start at $179,000 and there’s a long waiting list, so at least you’ll have time to make sure your collection is worthy of such a sizeable investment.

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