35th Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction highlights demand for local wines

Thirty-five years of experience has equaled more than R9.4 million at the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction.

The Auction was held at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch on Saturday and produced a total turnover exceeding R9.4 million with an average price per case (6 x 750ml) of R4 873 and an average price per bottle of R812.

“The ongoing demand for South African wines over the past 35 auctions is a good indication of the quality wines our winemakers continue to produce. South African wines are comfortably competing on the international market, and this is evidenced by the increasing number of new buyers participating in the auction year on year. Our auction wines represent the top growing regions within the Western Cape, and our Guild members are some of the most innovative and creative winemakers in the country,” says Boela Gerber, Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild.

The Auction displayed the finest creations by the members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, with each wine crafted exclusively for the annual event. Established in 1982, the Guild is a collective of some of South Africa’s finest winemakers. Membership, by nomination, is extended to winemakers recognised for their high standards of craftsmanship.

Created in small volumes, each wine on auction has withstood the scrutiny of a panel of Guild members and is put forward for auction based on its distinction. This year’s selection of 1930 cases was made up of 28 red wines and 12 white wines, three Méthode Cap Classique wines, a brandy and port-style wine.

The highest average prices per case for red wine went to Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2016 (R11 525), Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2017 (R8 900), Hartenberg CWG Auction Shiraz 2016 (R8 488).

Top achieving white wines based on an average price per case included Leeu Passant Radicales Libres 2014 (R6 979), Ataraxia Under the Gavel Chardonnay 2018 (R5 059) and Jordan CWG Chardonnay 2018 (R4 524). The average price per case for Méthode Cap Classique was R3 995 for Silverthorn Wines Big Dog V 2014 and R3 073 for Graham Beck Agrafe Fermented and Crown Cap Fermented MCC 2014. The only port-style wine, Boplaas Cape Vintage Auction Reserve 2016 sold for an average price of R3 256 per case.

The bulk of the wine, 71%, was purchased by local buyers with 29% bought by foreign bidders. The countries represented included the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium, Hong Kong, Germany, Mauritius, USA, Czech Republic, Namibia, Dubai, Australia and France.

This year’s auction was conducted by two internationally renowned auctioneers from Bonhams: Global Director of Fine Wine, Master of Wine, Richard Harvey and Director of Modern and Contemporary African Art, Giles Peppiatt.

“This is a very special event and Bonhams – which has a long association with South Africa - was delighted to play its part in making this year’s auction such a success.  It was particularly exciting to see so many international bidders - proof of the growing appetite for South African wines around the world,” says Harvey.

However, the auction is only the culmination of the Guild’s work. Their ongoing efforts to promote transformation and innovation in the winemaking industry have yielded a number of youth programmes. The Protégé Programme is one such programme that gives aspirant winemakers the opportunity of working alongside and being mentored by members of the Guild, during a three-year internship, and aims to develop the next generation of Guild members.