Annually Spier comes alive when the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction rolls into Stellenbosch.
There’s a frisson in the air that is widespread, starting with the pre-auction wine tasting.
This year featuring 37 wines from 37 guild members, there were stern faces at the tasting. Top industry buyers were present, already deciding on their bids the following day.
On September 29, the auction was a high-stakes wire act for bidders, with 21% of the wines bought by foreign bidders. The countries represented included the United Kingdom, Denmark, Hong Kong, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, USA, Namibia, Luxembourg, Czech Republic and France.
With a total of 2 012 cases of wine, the line-up of 48 wines included 31 red wines, 14 white wines, two Méthode Cap Classique’s and a port-style wine.
The reason why it’s such a hotly contested auction is the fact that membership to the guild is by invitation, with only outstanding wines and winemakers included.
The Cape Winemakers Guild also meets regularly as a technical tasting group, where members are able to evaluate each other’s wines and bounce ideas off each other, which adds to the exclusivity.
That craftmanship led to a higher than expected turnover this year of R10.5 million. The average price per case was R5 265 and R878 per bottle, toppling last year’s results.
Last year’s top buyer, Tsogo Sun, was given a run for its money this year with Singita luxury lodges and Marble Restaurant in Rosebank buying a total of R2 million of the wines.
Bidding started early with Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2015 setting a new record of R22 580, the highest price ever achieved for a case of six wines. On the floor there was a rapid succession as lots were snapped up.
This year three winemakers bid farewell to the guild, and their wines were eagerly sought after. This was the last year Etienne le Riche, Jan Boland Coetzee and Kevin Arnold participated in the auction.
Le Riche’s Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2015 fetched R743 600 for 80 cases. Coetzee’s Vriesenhof Vineyards Swanesang Pinot Noir 2015 fetched R155 200 for 34 cases with Arnold’s Waterford Estate 1988 Kept Aside Chardonnay 2017 fetching R123 200 for 36 cases.
Each was given the opportunity to say goodbye during the tasting, and each said it’s great to open up the guild for younger members.
That’s been one of the auction’s major focus areas, thanks to its Protégé Programme where young winemakers are paired with the masters to learn and improve the winemaking industry.
Auction buyers showed generosity with the charity auction raising R115 500 in aid of the Guild’s Protégé Programme for the development of talented young winemakers and viticulturists.
“The strict selection process by our members and our focus on smaller volumes of premium quality wines certainly paid off when considering the increased average price per bottle,” said Boela Gerber, chairperson of the Cape Winemakers Guild.
Top achieving wines
The highest average prices per case for red wine went to:
- Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2015 (R20 580)
- Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2016 (R10 664)
- Rijk’s CWG Pinotage 2015 (R9 670)
- Etienne le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2015 (R9 295)
- Kanonkop CWG Pinotage 2016 (R8 688)
- Rust en Vrede CWG Auction Estate 2015 (R7 640)
- Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Windansea Pinot Noir 2017 (R7 310)
- Hartenberg CWG Auction Shiraz 2015 (R7 142)
Top achieving white wines based on an average price per case:
- Mullineux ‘The Gris’ Semillon – Old Vines 2017 (R5 657)
- Ataraxia Under the Gavel Chardonnay 2017 (R5 070)
- Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2017 (R4 910)
- Jordan CWG Chardonnay 2017 (R4 771)
- The average price per case for Méthode Cap Classique was R4 419 for Silverthorn Wines Big Dog IV 2013 and R4 253 for Graham Beck Cuvée 105 ‘MGA’ Zero Dosage 2009 Pinot Noir Chardonnay
- The only port-style wine, Boplaas Cape Vintage Auction Reserve 2015 sold for an average price of R3 933