Sunday, September 18, 2011

Patriotism and Pragmatism Prevails at 2011 Nederburg Auction


With producers across the board feeling the pain of recession, Distell MD Jan Scanell is hopeful that yesterday's buoyant bidding at the Nederburg Auction – which saw sales pass R6m – is an early harbinger of a much needed recovery. This achievement more noteworthy by the fact that it was off 19% less wine which also resulted in no unsold lots.

The rugby before not the Echezeaux buyer
Guest speaker and Washington DC blogger David White ( http://terroirist.com ) spoke of the imminent demise of gatekeepers and über critics like Robert Parker Jr and the rise of peer and consumer review in social media and on sites like www.cellartracker.com  


David White

 In keeping with this theme, Distell marketing head Carina Gous made mention of their social media activities as among the things that they did differently for this year’s successful auction including a nifty barcode SMS’d to attendees for scanning at the gate – proving not all gatekeepers are redundant quite yet.

Delicious food by Dish Food and Zest Catering in the form of canapés and themed stations of starter size portions was a hit as was jazz band Breakfast Included.

The charity section of the auction raised some R180 000 on the day and over R3m in the last 20 years. Beneficiaries include the Anna Foundation and the Goedgedacht and Pebbles Project Trusts. Highlights included R31 000 for a single bottle of DRC’s 1966 Echezeaux from Nigerian Obi Josephat Ndibe who also pushed Monis 1948 Port to R68 000 per six during the main auction - a new record for a single six bottle case.

Bigger buyers include Spar and Checkers but you will also find some of the wines at Makro and Pick n Pay. UK retailers were notable by their absence but Germany’s Metro Cash & Carry were 3rd biggest buyer on the day.    

Speaker David White confided in me that he was anxious about people watching the bokke rather than his speech so I was unsurprised by the SMS late on Friday that organisers would be broadcasting the game on the auction hall’s big screens. It was a hit.

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