Mike Ratcliffe, pictured, MD of the Warwick and Vilafonté Wine Estates, is one of the most innovative producers of wine in South Africa. He is involved in many wine industry bodies, one of which is as a founder of the annual Cape Wine Auction (CWA), which raises millions of rand for charity.
We asked him a few questions about the 2018 Cape Wine Auction which takes place on February 10 on the Rustenberg Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.
What led you to become one of the founders of the auction?
I have been watching the global philanthropic space for some time and was inspired by a number of charity wine auctions around the world. I felt that the high-end SA wine offering had matured to such an extent that an audacious charity auction like CWA would be able to find traction. Among my peers, we also identified an urgent need to address the significant backlog in education in the SA winelands. It was an almost instant success. South Africans are inherently generous.
What is your target for Cape Wine Auction 2018?
Our target is to change lives. Our target is to make a difference. We hope to challenge expectations, break down barriers and unite an industry along a philanthropic path. It would also be nice to be able to match the R22 million raisedthis year.
Is it difficult to do better each year?
It is difficult, but we are slowly developing a new culture of extravagant philanthropy amongst our donors and our bidders. People are starting to disconnect their donation from value, donating outside of their comfort zone and pushing boundaries on auction lots.
What are you most proud of with regards to the CWA?
With a passionate group of intellectually stimulating trustees, we have developed an innovative model of giving that is attracting interest locally and abroad.
And at what you have achieved at Warwick and Vilafonté?
I am very privileged to have an incredible team of people that do a great job of making me look good. My teams are my most exciting achievement.
Can you tell us about one or two lots already donated for next year’s auction that you are particularly excited about and which you think will be hotly bidded for?
Tough question. The wines, as usual, are extravagant. I will be bidding on the Azura Mozambique lot with a group of friends. I am also loving the Paris and St Tropez lot and the Nederburg trip to follow the 2018 Tour de France is a cracker. For sports-lovers we have tickets for Wimbledon centre-court, tickets to the 2018 US Open Golf and VIP seats at the British Film Festival. Want to buy a car? We have a few tricks up our sleeves with some big announcements coming soon so watch this space.
Can the public attend?
Yes, tickets are available online at www.thecapewineauction.com/tickets. But hurry – they’re going fast!