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Wine Spectator: After Notre-Dame Fire, Wine Industry Rushes To Help

April 19, 2019

François-Henri Pinault said it felt like a blow to the gut; his teenage daughter had cried and his 82-year-old father mourned. The owner of Groupe Artémis and scion of one of France’s wealthiest families was speaking to a Europe 1 reporter Tuesday following the shocking, extensive fire at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. “We felt that it was an absolute obligation to rebuild this cathedral,” Pinault said, announcing that his family would pledge €100 million ($113m) toward the repair and rebuilding effort. “It is important that we are united around this symbol.”

The Pinaults, whose wine holdings include Bordeaux First Growth Château Latour, Burgundy Grand Cru monopole Clos de Tart, and Napa’s Eisele Vineyard, were among the most high-profile wine players who mobilized to the aid of the ravaged centuries-old symbol of French culture and heritage—but certainly not the only ones.

Bernard Arnault and his family’s LVMH Group—including Champagnes Moët & Chandon, Krug, and Veuve Clicquot, and Bordeaux Châteaux d’Yquem and Cheval-Blanc—immediately pledged €200 million ($226m) “to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is a core part of the French history,” the group said in a statement.

Sotheby’s, Château Mouton-Rothschild, and the Palace of Versailles announced that proceeds from a previously planned London auction this past Wednesday of Mouton cases would go toward Notre-Dame repairs. The boxed sets of five bottles bearing different contemporary artists’ work were created to raise funds for renovations at Versailles, but all parties agreed that the April 17 auction should benefit Notre-Dame. The 25-case sale brought in $983,000, Sotheby’s informed Wine Spectator. “With funds from the sale going toward the rebuilding of Notre-Dame Cathedral, each case more than doubled the opening bid,” said Jamie Ritchie, head of Sotheby’s Wine. Wine Spectator has more.—Ben O’Donnell

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