Good news arrived by way of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, held for the first time in London, where local wines fetched record prices. This year’s event comprised of a Guild Auction, comprising of exclusive wines produced by some of South Africa’s leading winemakers, and a Vinotheque Auction, featuring older wines from previous auctions all donated by Guild members.
The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction alone raised R4.1 million by way of 564 cases (6 x 750ml) comprising of 17 red wines, one fortified wine (a Cape Vintage); and 11 white wines that included two Méthode Cap Classique wines. New record average case prices were reached for both white wine (R5 887 per case) and red wine (R8 225 per case). A record R5 450 was paid for the Cape Vintage fortified.
The Vinotheque Auction had a two-week run-up to Auction day and concluded with a total of R816 100 being raised to support wine industry jobs. All the wines for this Auction comprised previous CWG Auction greats donated from members’ personal cellars.
In support of fellow Guild member Samantha O’Keefe who lost her home, winery, and vineyards in a devastating fire earlier this year, the Guild members donated the income from the first case of each of their wines on Auction to her. This gesture raised an amount of R223 300.
CWG Chair Andrea Mullineux said that that this could only have been possible with the team spirit so evident amongst those involved in the Guild.
“It is vital to work toward a common goal together and to support each other, especially through these unprecedented times, for the greater good of our beautiful South African wine industry.”
Mullineux added that the exceptional quality of South African wines is highlighted by the Guild members’ pursuit of excellence.
“The increase in positive international recognition and desirability with regard to this year’s CWG Auction selection has set a new standard for high-end wines from our corner of the world.”
The top-performing red wines were indicative of South Africa’s success with red varietals across different regions. The Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2017, a classic Bordeaux-style blend was the top achiever with an average price of R13 667 per case. Tight on its heels were the Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Shiraz 2018 with an average case price of R12 190 and the Rust en Vrede CWG Auction Estate 2017 at an average of R10 952. Both the latter two figures were record average prices for these wines.
White wines did not lag behind in price and Chardonnay, especially, has become a revered contender on the international wine stage. The Leeu Passant Radicales Libres 2015 with grapes hailing from the Little Karoo earned an average of R9 905 per case. The Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2018 with wine of origin Elgin, reached an average per case of R6 833. Also joining them was the Ataraxia Under The Gavel Chardonnay 2019 from Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge that sold for an average case price of R6 405.
The Auction started with an enthusiastic Giles Peppiatt, Bonhams Director of Modern and Contemporary African Art, taking up the gavel just after noon London-time. This was the first time that oenophiles could attend this Auction in London, while other bidders stayed glued to their computer screens across the globe.
Peppiatt said: “It was a great privilege to take part in this year’s sale. I am delighted that the auction was so successful, and it was good to see such a substantial sum raised for the Guild’s Fund for Samantha O’Keefe – some heart-warming news in difficult times.”
The interest in South African wines was widespread this year. 65% of sales went to South African bidders with the balance of the wine going to bidders in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Hong Kong, USA, Germany, The Netherlands, Singapore and Belgium. A record number of 163 bidders registered this year, with 82 from South Africa and 81 buyers from across the globe.
According to Bonhams Global Director of Wine and Master of Wine, Richard Harvey, an important aim of the annual Nedbank CWG Auction is to raise international awareness of the outstanding quality of Cape wines. “I’m very pleased to say that by attracting a host of new bidders from around the world, we’ve been able to extend the auction’s international reach even further this year,” Harvey said.
This success highlights the heart of South African wine buyers and wine appreciators from around the world who have been supportive of the dedication and commitment of Guild members.
The results achieved are a good indication of the world class quality of wines produced by the Guild members, the immense diversity of South African wines and the continued commitment towards producing classic, characterful and innovative wines.