Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction 2004

Thursday, 7 October, 2004
Kate Messina
Sales up 10% despite strong rand. Top buyer attributes higher prices to improved wine quality.

Exceeding market expectations, sales increased to R2,96 million, from R2,64 million last year, at the 19th  annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction held on Saturday, 2 October 2004 at Spier Conference Centre, near Stellenbosch. The strong Rand saw slightly weaker demand from overseas buyers, which was more than offset by assertive purchasing from The Butcher Shop and Grill, again the biggest buyer, and a number of first-time buyers at the Auction.

Christopher Keet of Cordoba, Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG), is delighted with the prices achieved at this year's Auction, 'These excellent results must be seen against the prevailing tough trading conditions in the local upper-premium wine market. Our extra efforts in promoting the Guild locally when the Rand started strengthening in 2002, has clearly borne fruit. So too have the collective ongoing efforts of the Guild members in improving the quality of our wines. Despite the strong Rand we will continue to promote CWG wines in international markets.'

Top buyer at the Auction for the third year running was The Butcher Shop and Grill in Sandton with purchases of R617 000, followed by first-time-buyer Liquor City, Joachim Steinhöfel, a private buyer and an Auction regular, Tedeum Vin from Denmark, all of whom purchased in excess of R130 000. Foreign buyers accounted for R632 900 of sales or 21%, down from 28% in 2003.

Alan Pick, owner of The Butcher Shop and Grill was very enthusiastic about his Auction haul this year because of his increasing confidence in the quality of Guild wines, saying, 'CWG Wines have instant credibility with my customers, given their consistently superior quality. I believe that the Guild has now come of age as its value proposition is outstanding.'

This year the equivalent of 2 786 6-bottle cases came under the hammer of Henré Hablutzel of Hofmeyr Mills. The average price for a case was R1 063 (R177 per bottle), up 2,7% on last year's R1 035 (R172 per bottle). The highest price paid for a 6-bottle case of red was R2 550, for Beyers Truter's Kanonkop 2001 followed by R2 400 for André van Rensburg's Vergelegen Auction Reserve 2001, which also achieved the highest average price for the day, at R2 177 per case. For whites, André van Rensburg's Vergelegen Auction Reserve Semillon 2003 achieved the highest case price of R1 450 (average R1 219) followed by Kevin Grant's Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2003 at R1 250 (R1 134 average). Top case price for a fortified wine went to Carel Nel's Boplaas Auction Reserve Port 2002 at R1 550.

The generosity of bidders saw R122 666, from the Silent Auction and CWG Charity Auction, being raised this year for the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, which supports wine industry-worker communities and their families. Together with Nedbank's donation of R100 000, this will enable the Trust to continue with its valuable social upliftment programme.

The Silent Auction raised R87 166 from specially packaged rare wines from each of the Guild's 34 members. The top bid of R7 000 was made for a 15-litre Vergelegen Red 2001.

The CWG Charity Auction of three exclusive collections of 2002 CWG wines raised R35 500. The CWG Cabernet Sauvignon, CWG Merlot and CWG Blend Collections each included a 5-litre bottle, a 3-litre bottle and two 1,5-litre bottles. The labels for these bottles were hand-painted by children at local schools. The Cabernet Sauvignon Collection was sold to an anonymous bidder, the Merlot Collection to Ronald Paterson from Cape Town and the Blend Collection to Keith Innes from England. Ronald Paterson donated the Merlot Collection back to the Guild, which was then knocked down to his friend, Clive Davidson from Champany Inn in Scotland.

Nedbank, sponsor of the Guild Auction for the past nine years, recently announced the renewal of the Cape Winemakers Guild sponsorship for 2005. The sponsorship forms part of the bank's overall commitment to the South African wine industry. 'As a bank of choice for the wine industry it makes absolute sense for Nedbank to sponsor the Cape Winemakers Guild. The Guild gives its members the opportunity to showcase their Auction wines, award-winning and flagship wines', says Richard Buchholz, managing director of Business Banking, a division of Nedbank Corporate.

Note: All prices mentioned exclude VAT.

Prepared for the Cape Winemakers Guild by:
Posy & Jeremy Hazell PR & Wine Consultants        
Tel 021 851 1563
Cell 082 377 3498                        

Cape Winemakers Guild
Contact: Kate Messina
Tel 021 883 8626