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Hospices de Beaune winemaker Roland Masse to retire

The winemaker and manager of Domaine des Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy, Roland Masse, is set to retire after the 2014 vintage.

Masse, who will turn 61 in November, will complete his 15th and final vintage for the annual Hospices de Beaune auction this year, a spokeswoman for the domaine confirmed to Decanter.com.

She said that his successor has not yet been named publicly, but would take over at the beginning of 2015.

The annual Hospices de Beaune auction, which is currently organised by Christie’s and takes place every November, is now in its 154th year.

Masse has overseen every 21st Century vintage at the domaine. He described last year’s vintage as his most challenging and said staff had ‘never worked so hard’ to select high quality grapes, following difficult weather conditions.

The 2013 Hospices de Beaune auction achieved record sales, raising over €6.3m (£5.3m), despite having the smallest volume of wine on sale for three decades.

Masse was born into a family of vinters in the Cote Chalonnaise. Before starting his work with the domaine and world famous wine auction in 2000, Masse had worked for other wine producers, including the celebrated Domaine Bertagna in Vougeot.

Masse told local French newspaper Bien Public that, following his retirement, he would continue to make some white wine from vines planted in his garden at home.
This year’s Hospices de Beaune auction is scheduled for Sunday 16 November. The domaine’s 60 hectares of vines stretch from Pouilly-Fuisse in the south to Gevrey-Chambertin in the north.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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