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South African wine reaches all time high at auction

Published:  19 September, 2016

Prices at the 42nd annual Nederburg Auction reached all all-time high at the weekend.

Prices at the 42nd annual Nederburg Auction reached all all-time high at the weekend.

The annual event in South Africa, which auctions off rare home-grown wine, saw The Rand per litre price reached an all-time high of R740. 

A total of 10,506 litres of wine was knocked down by auctioneers Anthony Barne MW of Bonhams and David Elswood of Christies, with total sales increasing by 23% over last year.

This was in spite of a slightly lower volume on offer of 4% from the 2015 auction.

"It is a clear endorsement from buyers worldwide, indicating that a strong appetite exists for fine, mature South African wines and that they are willing to back it up with their wallets," auction manager, Dalene Steyn, said.

Leading the charge for South African whites was the De Wetshof Chardonnay Finesse 1993 vintage, which reached a record price of R2,000 per 750ml bottle.

Red wine performed above expectations, with a 50% increase in the average price per litre to R961.

The top red wine fetched a record R9,777 per litre paid for 1976 Zonnebloem Shiraz, totalling R22,000 for 3 x 750ml bottles.

South African buyers claimed the biggest portion of wine purchases with two thirds of the sales.

International participation however is on the increase, Steyn said, "with 3% more successful bids by international buyers, totalling 18%".

Distell Group MD Richard Rushton added: "I think more and more international buyers are taking a keen interest. They see a massive value in the quality of our wines and are happy to pay fair prices."

Continuing the trend from 2015, more private buyers entered this year's auction and their input accounted for 22% of total sales.

Steyn said this was a result of Distell's strategy of making the auction more accessible as a platform for collectors buying in their own capacity.

"This resulted in markedly more competitive bidding. We noted an 11% increase in buying from all registered paddles. This is encouraging, and in line with the Distell strategy for the Auction. Further, it shows that our producers are increasingly receiving fair value for what are world-class wines," Steyn said.

Keynote speaker and British Master of Wine Tim Atkin said he had never felt more positive about the quality of South African wine.

He said: "The 2015 vintage is part of the reason why - but so are the improvements I've seen first hand in the vineyards and cellars of the Cape over the last 26 years. There has never been so much great South African wine available. And increasingly, these are wines with a true sense of terroir."