The Rhône-themed online fine wines auction 6-14 April by Strauss & Co was the most successful sale to date, since the establishment of the exciting joint venture between WineCellar.co.za, Sommelier Higgo Jacobs and Strauss & Co. The Rhône-themed session formed part of the 19th century, Modern, Contemporary and Post-War Art, Decorative Arts, Jewellery sale which showed a record number of lots, sale-throughs and total online sales. 96% of the wine lots were sold at prices just 2% off upper estimates. 85 lots were sold at R706,474, all inclusive, at a record average price of R1605 per bottle. “The number of buyers and competitive bidding reached a new level for fine wines, a bold stride towards formalising the secondary South African wine market,” commented Roland Peens, Director of WineCellar.co.za. Strauss & Co Chairman Frank Kilbourn further added “We are delighted with the outcome of the sale and the way the market is embracing our fine wines auction initiative, justifying our belief in the quality and collectability of top end South African wines”. Following on the initial success of the two live and one online auction in 2019, “We have refined the 2020 strategy and we will be hosting smaller, themed-auctions, more regularly”, said Roland. With Covid-19 interrupting the live auction schedule, the online auction seemed to attract more attention. “With our online platform already established, we were well positioned to make the most of the present increase in online activity. Attractively priced, curated small lots of the finest wines, perfect for private buyers, combined with online convenience all contributed to the success of this sale,” commented Higgo Jacobs. The top lots included Rhône valley’s most sought-after wine, Chateau Rayas. This iconic Chateauneuf-du-Pape is remarkably mysterious and rare, trading at multiple times the release price on the secondary market. Six bottles of the great 2005 vintage were sold for R13,276 per bottle. Guigal’s single vineyard Côte Rôties also yielded high prices; the 100 Parker point 1998 La Landonne fetched R11,138 per bottle. Sadie Family Columella was the most expensive South Africa wine on auction with a 4-bottle set from 2003-2006 selling for R3224 per bottle and a 6-bottle case of the 2008 at R3127 per bottle. Single vineyard and single-site Syrahs sold particularly well; Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard 2007 reached R2071 per bottle, Rall AVA 2017 R1954, Mullineux Iron 2013 R1876, with Porseleinberg 2015 and Boschkloof Epilogue 2015 both reaching R1759 per bottle all-inclusive vat and buyer’s premium. The auction once again included the finest South African wines and benchmark producers achieved solid prices for highly sought-after mature vintages. Four cases of 2005 Boekenhoutskloof Syrah averaged R1661 per bottle, while the icons of Luddite (R1466) and Hartenberg Gravel Hill (R1221) also showed strong prices from the top 2005 vintage. More recent superstars such as Lismore fetched R1075 for the 2011 Syrah and Keermont reached R1173 for the stellar 2012. The ‘new-wave’ wines from the 2015 vintage showed strong returns considering their relative youth. Sadie Family Soldaat 2015 reached an impressive R1759 per bottle, while David and Nadia Grenache sold for R782 and Savage Red R743, also from the great 2015 vintages. The date for the upcoming Bordeaux sale has yet to be confirmed due to the uncertainty around eventing. The line-up is however available for viewing on Strauss & Co website and hosts another unparalleled line-up of South African and international wines. For more local lifestyle features and news from Stellenbosch and surrounds, subscribe to our newsletter.