By James Bayley
Published: 20 November, 2023
The 163rd edition of the Hospices de Beaune wine sale will see Jeannie Cho Lee MW replace Jasper Morris MW as a consultant for the annual wine auction.
Morris joined the Sotheby’s wine team in 2021 shortly after it partnered with the Hospices de Beaune, which raises funds for the hospital institution in the South Côte d’Or territory and other community services.
A Master of Wine since 1985, Morris is the author of Inside Burgundy, winner of the André Simon Prize in 2010. Since retiring from commerce in 2018, Morris has presided over Inside Burgundy – a website dedicated to the wines of Burgundy.
Morris oversaw three harvests with Sotheby’s where his deep knowledge of Burgundy helped to inform the wines for the auction.
Morris explained: “I’m stepping down because my own business, Inside Burgundy, has grown so much that it is not possible to do both jobs alongside each other, especially as the key time of year for both comes at the same period.”
Stepping into Morris’ shoes is the award-winning author, television host, editor, wine critic, judge and educator, Jeannie Cho Lee MW. In her role, she will conduct tastings for the Hospices de Beaune wines and participate in tastings and dinners around the world.
Cho Lee (pictured), who became the first Asian Master of Wine in 2008, started to give ratings to wine in 1992 when she began writing her wine diaries. Since then, she has gone on to publish three award-winning books – Asian Palate, Mastering Wine, and The 100 Burgundy, which won the 2020 Gourmand Award for Best Wine Book in the World for French wines.
Recognised for her contributions to the food and wine industry, she was honoured as a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (a Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honour) by French president Emmanuel Macron in 2021.
Cho Lee said: “Jasper leaves behind huge shoes to fill and he is a consummate professional with a great palate. I will endeavour to keep the standards as high as he has over the past eight years. Jasper is a walking encyclopaedia on Burgundy, its domaines and its people, so I will be seeking his personal guidance as well as referring to his fabulous book, Inside Burgundy, on a regular basis.”
Nick Pegna, global head of Wine & Spirits at Sotheby’s, added: “Having had the privilege of working with both Jasper and Jeannie for several years, individuals whom I deeply admire, I am thrilled to announce that Jeannie has graciously accepted the important role of working with Sotheby’s on the Hospices de Beaune sale as our consultant. Jeannie brings not only a wealth of experience but also a highly international perspective to this role.
“Additionally, I would also like to thank Jasper for his professionalism, encyclopaedic knowledge and attention to detail. It has been a pleasure working with him.”
Traditionally held on the third Sunday of November, yesterday’s (19 November) Hospices de Beaune Charity Wine Auction was the second-biggest in its history, raising €23.3m.
The sale featured 753 barrels housing 51 cuvées of the 2023 vintage (divided into 574 barrels of red wines and 179 barrels of white wines) produced from vineyards across the Hospices’ 60ha holdings, now in its third and final year of organic conversion. The average price per barrel of the red and white wines was €30,839.