The French government is set to auction off 1,200 bottles of wine at the end of this month in an effort to raise money for the struggling state.

The Paris auction house Drouot announced this week that it would be selling champagnes, Burgundies and Bordeauxs taken from the cellars of the Elysée presidential palace.

"What cellar, better than the Elysée Palace, can symbolize the variety and richness of France’s soils and express the excellence of our vineyards, recognized as a national heritage?" Drouot said on its website.


Among the wines up for auction is a 1990 Petrus, which is estimated to fetch €2,200, or more than $2,900 Cdn. (Drouot)

The French government is hoping that the sale will allow it to refresh its collection with more modest wines without drawing on public funds.

"In the interests of sound management, the proceeds of the sale will be reinvested in more modest wines and the excess will be returned to the state budget," Drouot said.

The bottles up for sale make up a tenth of the presidential cellar, established in 1947. Most of the wines for sale are from the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions, with some from Loire, Champagne, Alsace and Rhone Valley.  

"All these wines were served at the table of the President of the Republic and, for some, accompanied great moments in the history of the Fifth Republic," Drouot said.

Some bottles are projected to sell for as little as €15 (or about $20 Cdn) while a 1990 Petrus is expected to fetch €2,200 (or more than $2,900). Drouot estimates that most bottles will sell for less than €100 (or $133).

The European Union is the midst of a recession, with France among the hardest hit. French President François Hollande has resisted austerity measures as a solution to the country’s financial woes.