Posted on 11 October 2012 by davidbiggs
Officially, of course, there’s no rivalry between the Nederburg Auction and the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. The Nederburg event is for licensed retailers only, while the CWG Auction is open to the public as well as commercial bidders.
Quite different markets.
There were, however, a few smug smirks when the CWG auction ended last Saturday.
For the first time the CWG Auction achieved a higher turnover than the Nederburg Auction.
While bidding was cautious at Nederburg and prices were 16% lower on average than last year, bidding was fast and furious at the CWG event, resulting in a buying rate of a record one million rands an hour for the first four hours. Even though there were 431 fewer cases of wine on offer at the CWG, the total sales amounted to more than R5,2 million, compared to Nederburg’s R4,67 million.
Every one of the CWG’s cases was snapped up by eager buyers.
Photograph courtesy of CWG
Even though foreign buyers were well represented at both auctions, most of the sales were to local bidders in each case.
The CWG auction was conducted by Henré Hablutzel of Hofmeyr Mills, Auctioneers for the 15th consecutive year, and attracted 148 buyers including 14 foreign buyers.>Also, for the first time, there were also 14 online bidders.
A total of 2 517 cases were sold at an average price of R2 281 per six-bottle case.
Once again Alan Pick of The Butcher Shop and Grill in Sandton was the biggest spender at just over a million rands.
Among the foreign buyers, the biggest sales went to Belgium with R266 800, followed by Namibia on R131 400, Denmark on R105 600 and the United Kingdom with R101 600.
It appears that the recession has not affected the palates or pockets of the world’s wine lovers.
Posted on 06 October 2011 by davidbiggs
Times may be tough, but this year’s Cape Winemakers Guild Auction showed there’s still money available for good wines.
The almost 3000 cases of wine on offer fetched a record total of R5,28 million, at an average price of R1800 for a six-bottle case. That’s R300 a bottle, which in some cases was an absolute bargain.
Remember, these wines are made with extra care, and in limited quantities, specially for the auction. It’s an opportunity for winemakers to be truly creative – and also to show fellow guild members what they’re capable of.
This is important, as guild membership is not regarded lightly.
Membership is by invitation only, and is only considered when a winemaker as produced exceptionally high quality wine for a minimum of five years.
It’s no wonder the bidding was brisk and competitive. These are no ordinary wines.
The 2011 catalogue contained 38 red wines,13 white wines, two méthode cap classique sparkling wines and a pot-still brandy.
The auction is open to anybody who wants to bid, unlike the Nederburg Auction, which is for licensed wine retailers only.
So here we have buyers who have tasted the wines and want to add them to their collections for their own enjoyment.
There were 122 buyers bidding this year, 19 of whom came from overseas.
This year’s top price – a record R6000 a six-bottle case went to Boekenhoutskloof’s 2009 Syrah Auction Reserve, which was bought by a Belgian buyer.
(Overseas sales were double those of last year.)
Top local buyer, for the 10th consecutive year, was Alan Pick of The Butcher Shop and Grill, who spent about R1,3 million.
Other wines that fetched high prices included Kanonkop CWG Pinotage 2009 with an average price per case of R3 843, Hartenberg Estate Auction Shiraz 2009 selling at R3 264, Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2008 at R3 237, Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir 2009 at R3 212, Neil Ellis Rodanos 2007 at R3 125 and the Saronsberg Die Erf Grenache 2010 averaging at R2 677.
Top selling white wines included the Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2010 with an average price per case of R2 285, Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2009 at R2 100, the Cape Point Vineyards Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010 at R1 822.
From a personal point of view, I thought the Boplaas Auction Reserve 10-Year-Old Potstill Brandy was the bargain of the day. I kept sneaking back to the tasting room to make absolutely sure it was as good as I remembered it from the previous time. It always was.
It went for R300 a bottle. That’s a gift!
In addition to the main auction, a total of R132 600 was raised in aid of the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, a scheme to help promising young winemakers qualify and study overseas as well as locally.
Posted on 21 September 2011 by davidbiggs
Last Saturday’s Nederburg Auction, the 37th, was a focused and slick event, different in several ways from past auctions.
For a start, there were fewer “VIP” guests swanning around trying to look gorgeous. Since the fashion show was cut from the programme, everybody can concentrate on the real business at ha
nd – buying rare wines.
Waiters brought a steady supply of drinks and snacks into the auction hall, removing the temptation for bidders to sneak off for coffee or canapés, missing a few lots.
For the first time in many years there were no unsold lots at this auction, largely thanks to auctioneer Anthony Barne’s steady hand on the hammer. He kept the pace up without ever making bidders feel pressurized.
The auction catalogue had been trimmed too, offering fewer wines than last year, but definitely a more exciting collection.
There were many genuinely rare and sought-after wines on offer, as the prices indicate. A single cast of six bottles of 1957 Lanzerac Cabernet attracted a flurry of bidding that didn’t stop until the case was knocked down for R22000. That’s R3600 a bottle!
A case of six bottles of 1949 KWV Ruby Port (probably not very “ruby” by now) went for R20 000, with bidding climbing by R500 a bid.
One of the oldest wines on offer was a 1930 KWV Red Muscadel Jerepigo and the bidding went rapidly to R6500 a bottle. Then the successful bidder took all six bottle on the list.
Chateau Libertas has become a legend in the Cape wine industry. It’s the longest surviving label on the South African market and still going strong.
Three bottles of the 1961 vintage of this old favourite fetched a bid of R20 000 – more than R6000 a bottle. Treat those bottles of Chateau Lib in your cupboard with respect!
One of the breath-taking prices went for a six-case lot of 1948 Monis Collector’s Port. The bidding just went on and on and the hall fell silent as we watched the price rise to R10 000, then R30 000, then R50 000 and finally finish at R68 000 – more than R10 000 a bottle!
Somebody REALLY wanted that port.
There were also bargains for serious wine buyers and retailers of course. Nederburg’s Private Bin Pinotage 2003, for example, was knocked down for R110 a bottle, and Stellenrust’s barrel fermented 2008 Chenin Blanc was sold for R136 a bottle.
Nederburg’s 2009 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc fetched around R140 a bottle.
At those prices there will be some happy wine drinkers enjoying excellent wines, even after the buyers have added their profit.
Early on Saturday the sales had passed the R4-million mark, and at the end of the auction the total was a record R6,13 million.
Congratulations to the organizers of the auction for a well-run event.
Photograph: Matt Stow
Posted on 23 September 2010 by davidbiggs
Blaauwklippen’s annual wine blending competition is unique. Unlike other wine competitions this one is for non-professional wine lovers like you and me.
And, unlike other competition, this one is purely for fun.
Competing wine clubs around the country are sent packs of base wines and asked to use them in varying proportions to create a brand new wine, which will be bottled and marketed by Blaauwklippen.
The finalists from each region are flown to Stellenbosch where they are entertained at Blaauwklippen and the award-winning blend is announced at a festive lunch.
This year’s winners were from Port Elizabeth and call themselves the Engineer Wine Club. It’s the 10th time they’ve entered the competition. They’ve reached the finals three times before but never reached the top spot until now.
That shows persistence some would say is typical of engineers.
Their blend was judged the best out of more that 75 entries.
The Engineers Wine Club was originally formed in Durban by a group of wine-loving engineers, but has subsequently moved to the Eastern Cape and now has only two engineers among its 16 members.
The name, however, stays the same.The photograph shows Rolf Zeitvogel, Blaauwklippen cellar master, victorious blenders Guy and Lindsay Thomson and artist Frans Groenewald who designed the label.
Other finalists this year included the Tipsy Tarts Wine Club from Durban – originally started as a book club, the Tipsy Tarts gradually evolved into a far merrier wine group.
Then there were the Parys Winefly Club from the Free State, entering for the first time this year. They were presented with an award for the best first-time achievement.
The only club from the Western Cape was the Weskus Wyngilde, which has entered the competition for the last 15 years but never reached the finals before.
Competing clubs were each sent a pack containing a bottle of the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz and Blaauwklippen’s signature grape, Zinfandel.
They were required to try out various proportions of each or any of the wines and send their recipe to the organizers. Their brief was to create a serious, easy-drinking dry red wine with subtle tannins.
The winning blend was selected by a panel of experienced wine judges.
Magnums of the blend have been bottled and a special label created by local artist Frans Groenewald are available from the estate, as well as from some specialist wine stores.
For me, the real joy of this competition is that it allows ordinary wine lovers to become involved in the intricacies of wine blending. Just a small variation in proportions can make a huge difference to the character of the final blend.
Most good winemakers realize this, but it’s perhaps not as well understood by consumers.
Incidentally, the winning blends consisted of 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Shiraz, 7% Malbec and 45% Zinfandel.
CWG AUCTION: Saturday, October 2.
This year’s Winemakers Guild Auction takes place of October 2 and has been described by members as the best offering ever. Many of the wines on offer were presented at a blind tasting in New York and scored more than the coveted 90 points, regarded internationally as a standard of excellence.
There are 39 wines on this year’s catalogue, all made exclusively for the auction and carefully selected in a blind tasting by members of the Guild. The line-up consists of 21 red wines, 13 white wines, three Méthode Cap Classiques, a dessert wine and a port.
After one blind tasting American wine writer James Molesworth singled out the AA Badenhorst Family Kalmoesfontein Semillon Noble Late Harvest as his top scoring wine, describing it as “A rare treasure worth chasing after.”
Other top scorers included Hidden Valley Top Secret 2008, Kaapzicht Cape Blend Auction Reserve 2007 and Simonsig Auction Reserve Shiraz 2008.
Bidding is open to the public and begins at 9am at the Spier Conference Centre near Stellenbosch.
There are facilities for telephone bidding for buyers unable to attend.
For further details and to attend the auction, visit the guild’s website or contact the Guild Office on 021 852 0408.