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 12 April 2012 by davidbiggs
I sometimes wonder if wine producers actually study the reasons people buy – or don’t buy – their wines.
How many wine drinkers actually care a hoot whether a wine has been awarded 92 points by the sainted Robert Parker?
Or whether a wine has won a silver medal in the Uzbekistan Wine Challenge?
Almost every wine cellar is anxious to publicise the news that their wine received a gold medal at the London Wine and Spirit Competition or the Concours Mondeal in Brussels, or the Trophy Wine Show, The SA Terroir Wine Competition, The Michelangelo Awards, the ABSA Pinotage Top 10 Competition or the Veritas Competition.
And the rest!
We wine writers are constantly bombarded with facts like these. Sometimes we pass them on to what we believe are our adoring readers.
A survey of wine buyers in the UK some years ago showed that almost none of them actually read wine magazines or wine articles in newspapers.
So what sells wine?
Apparently price and pretty labels account for 90% of wine sales.
Bear in mind that most wines are sold in supermarkets these days. They’re bought by people who want a reasonable wine to go with the coronation chicken they’re cooking that evening.
And they want to spend “not more than R30, for goodness sake. You can get a very decent wine at that price.”
They know they want a dry white wine, or an off-dry white or a nice fruity red to go with the pizza. Then it’s a matter of price.
“Oh, this is a pretty label. Let’s try it.”
I regularly have friends come to me and say things like: “Hey, I discovered an absolute bargain at LCD the other day. They’re selling out Blue Cow Cabernet Sauvignon at nine rands a bottle. And it’s quite drinkable! A bit rough, maybe, but not too bad.”
We wine writers like to think our readers are anxiously awaiting our opinions of the latest R800–a-bottle release from Elgin, or the superb wood-fermented Chardonnay from Paarl at R500 a bottle.
Maybe we’re impressing our wine-writing colleagues, but very few other people care a damn.
Give it a pretty label and a bargain price and it will sell.
And I may have written myself out of a job.
Photograph: Douglas Green
Posted on 20 July 2011 by davidbiggs
I’ve heard several people wondering why Wine magazine is closing down. It’s always sad to see a publication close – or any business for that matter.
When it happens we need to take a careful look at the reasons for its closure. In these tough times we’re all in the firing line.
One of the obvious reasons in this case (and it’s no fault of the publishers) is that we have a relatively small high-income population in South Africa, and we’re oversupplied with lifestyle magazines. Just take a look at your supermarket magazine racks.
We have magazines about food and leisure, home and travel, food and sport, celebrities and food, sport and sex, health for men, fashion for women, you name it.
Usually the titles involve two activities – House and Leisure or Home and Garden for example.
I suspect this may be a way of catching two categories of reader with one net.
In the case of Wine magazine, maybe that’s where the problem lay – not a wide enough net. For many of the country’s wine drinkers, the price of a cheap bottle is about all they can manage. There’s no point in reading about it, just unscrew it and drink. You could buy another bottle for the price of that magazine.
A rival (and thriving) magazine like Good Taste devotes a good deal of space to wine. After all, it is the official publication of the Wine-of-the-Month Club. But, as the title suggests, it’s about all the other good things in life as well – fine cars, foreign travel, fashion, watches, food, elegant homes, art and music.
Maybe I’m being simplistic, but I suspect Wine magazine’s title might have led to its demise.
Just “wine” ? Too specific. It’s like having a magazine called “Shoe” or “Tyres.” They would have a limited appeal. But call them “Fashion and Footwear” or “Gripping the Road,” and you may have a seller.
I’m sorry to see Wine closing. I wish the members of the team everything of the best. They’re a good bunch and I’m sure they’ll bounce back soon.