Fresh on the heels of France’s labour minister stating “France is a Totally Bankrupt State” comes news the city of Dijon needs to sell its prized wine collection to help those “appealing for social aid.”
Please consider L’austérité à la française: city sells prized wines.
The city of Dijon has just sold off half of its prized municipal wine cellar to help fund local social spending – including a bottle of 1999 Burgundy knocked down at auction for €4,800 to a Chinese buyer.
In total, the capital of the Burgundy region raised €151,620 from the “historic sale” of 3,500 bottles that were part of a collection built up since the 1960s, it announced in a statement on Monday.
President François Hollande’s Socialist government has spent most of its first eight months in office earning a reputation for ramping up taxes on the rich to cover the country’s budget deficit.
But Mr Hollande has warned local authorities that they must also shoulder some of the burden by accepting a spending squeeze as the government seeks to cut €60bn by 2017.
François Rebsamen, the Socialist mayor who ordered Sunday’s auction, explained: “We have overall a good budget this year, but the social action spending of the city just keeps going up. There are more and more of our co-citizens who are appealing for social aid.”
The top attraction was a bottle of Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux, premier cru de 1999. Placed on a reserve of €1,000, it sold for almost five times that price.
The city said in its statement that 80 per cent of the proceeds would go towards funding the community social action programme. But the rest would pay for the cost of the auction – and to help replenish the now somewhat depleted municipal cellar.
Two-Time Shot at Best
For the curious minded, the buyer of the bottle of Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux was a “mysterious Chinese” named Wang Dongming, who waited patiently for the bottle to go under the hammer at the end of the auction.
Dijon just sold half its wine collection. Thus, Dijon can at best conduct one similar auction of the same size. Then what? Precisely what does the city sell then to help those “appealing for social aid”?
One final question: Does this look like a recovery?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock