Sunday, 5 September 2010

Nederburg Auction Sales Up 42%

The 2010 edition heralds the dramatic reversal of a 5-year declining trend in sales to leap 42% to R5,68m, more than R1.6m over 2009's R4m but some way off the highs of over R7m achieved in 2002,3 and 5. Spar emerged tops in the bidding war followed by Checkers and UK-based international retailer Tesco plc.

Among the highlights was a record R62 000 paid for a single case of 6 x 750 ml bottles of 1964 Nederburg Port bought by Nigerian businessman and importer of wine, Mr Obi Josephat Ndibe. This is the only port ever made at Nederburg by its legendary wine maker Günter Brözel, who retired in 1989. The previous highest price was the 6 x 375 ml bottles of 1959 Chateau Libertas that sold for R23 000 last year.

Mr Obi Josephat Ndibe pays R62 000 for a case (x6) of port

Much of the auction's success flows from a sharper focus on the format and more stringent selection of wines and is a deliberate signal to bidders, says Carina Gous, Distell's newly appointed wine segment director, of the intention to deliver real value to buyers.

The wine selection panel members - revealed for the first time - included a range of characters from industry stalwart Duimpie Bayley, Nederburg cellarmaster Razvan Macici, private sector winemakers Tinus Els and Pieter Ferreira, and usual suspects like Dave Hughes and Bennie Howard.

However MD Jan Scannell did not see merit in a panel assessing the wines on any rating systems widely practiced in the trade after it was proposed by a leading journalist. 'We did arrange a seperate and private tasting for registered buyers to taste the wine before the auction' said Ms Gous.

The following wines achieved top prices in their respective white, red, port, fortified, MCC and Noble Late Harvest categories: De Wetshof Estate unfiltered Chardonnay 2006 (magnums); Groot Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon 1972; Nederburg Port 1964; KWV Muscadel 1930; Pongracz Desiderius 2001 and Nederburg Edelkeur 1977.

A seperate charity auction raised R169 500 for Goedgedacht Trust, Pebbles Project and World Vision SA. Highlight included R60 000 Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg paid for a 5 litre bottle of 1986 Chateau La Grange donated by Mark Norrish who paid R10 000 for it 10 years ago on the same auction. A bottle of '59 Chateau Margaux sold for R23 000 and an 1840 Madeira for R10 000.

Jonathan Snashall

For winemaker-led tours of the Cape

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