Industry shines at 44th Nederburg Auction

In his keynote address, Michael Jordaan spoke of the need for South African wine to command higher prices in order for producers to be sustainable. The 9% increase per bottle year-on-year achieved at this year’s Nederburg Auction, indicates that the well-curated fine wine on auction can obtain the prices they are worthy of and bidders are willing to pay a premium for high quality, rare South African wine.

Wine as an asset investment class is growing globally and South Africa is starting to pick-up on this trend. Buyers are increasingly willing to spend more, trusting that they will reap the benefits of investing in fine, rare wines. The benefit is two-fold as if you’re not in it for the monetary increase in value, you will always have the pleasure of drinking these well-curated fine South African wines.

A cornerstone of the Auction’s selection process is that all wines are selected blind. Red, fortified and sweet wines have to be six years and older and whites and MCC 3 years and older. All wines on auction are selected by one of two panels of four international wine judges and scored on a 20-point scoring system. This ensures that only the best of the best make it to auction. This year included 107 wines in 24 varieties from 63 producers totalling 6,677 litres going under the hammer, a refinement of 24% on 2017 volumes with no unsold lots.

Buyers at the Nederburg Auction are becoming increasingly more discerning and knowledgeable about all aspects of wine. The demand for high quality, top rated wines is evident in the prices achieved, especially when the brand perception premium is added to the final price.

Final audited sales reached R5,252,800 achieving a new Nederburg Auction record of R590 per 750ml bottle, up 9% on 2017’s R542 per bottle. 76% of all auction sales went to local buyers, with the balance leaving our shores for various international markets. Producers on the whole had a successful 2018 auction, achieving sales on average of 99% above their reserve price. Pick ‘n Pay was the biggest buyer, taking 8.8% of total auction sales, followed by Singita with 5.5% and the Tsogo Sun with 4.4%. The Spar Group’s Western Cape (3.3%) and Eastern Cape (2.7%) DC’s purchase independently, but as a Group their combined purchases would put them in second place with 6% of total auction sales.

Taiwan was the biggest international buyer this year, contributing 8.8% to total auction sales, an increase of 11.9% on 2017. Benny’s Enterprizes of Taiwan was the biggest foreign buyer purchasing 3.4% of total sales. Marius Fouche, MD of Distell International, Taiwan said: “With a population of more than 23 million, Taiwan is home to a growing market for imported wine products. The purchasing power of the Taiwanese people is demonstrated by the increasing consumption of wine: since 2010, consumption of wine in Taiwan has grown by 8.6% annually. This small island has an increasing number of wine lovers, many of whom are young women. Taiwan has shown huge interest in our premium wines and all agree that even though they are buying at the premium end, they still get great value in the price versus quality ratio. The Nederburg Auction has gone a long way in lifting the image of the South African Wine Industry in the minds of Taiwanese wine enthusiasts. A key development was the huge interest of premium wines in larger formats (1.5L), which are very popular as gifts and for celebration events.”

Looking at sales by wine type, red wine took 75% of total sales at an average of R685 per bottle, up 7.5% year-on-year; Dry white was second with 15.4% of sales at an average of R331 per bottle followed by Noble Late Harvest with 4% at R744 per bottle. Fortified contributed 3.5% to total sales at R681 per bottle up an impressive 140% on 2017’s per bottle price. MCC contributed 1.6% to total sales averaging R823 per 750ml bottle, a marginal increase of 2.2% on 2017.

Dry white as a category currently lags behind all other cultivars by over 50% when it comes to price per bottle and Bennie Howard of Meerendal believes that consumers are still hesitant to pay as high prices for white wines as for red wines, as historically older red wines fetched understandably higher prices. At the same time the trade is aware what the limit is that their clients will be prepared to pay for older white wines. But more and more consumers are enjoying older vintages, often with food and he believes we will see higher prices in future. The quality of white wines at the Nederburg Auction has increased rapidly over the years and we will no doubt see an increase in the white wine prices in the near future.

The selection panel also supports this view with panel members praising the quality of our white wines after the flights they tasted, especially the older whites, which have aged incredibly well. This was also echoed by buyers attending the wine previews and the pre-auction tasting. The older white wines are being appreciated by the ever more quality-conscious consumer where high-quality wines are still available at very reasonable prices.

Red Wine

Pinotage was the star of the show, achieving an impressive 99% increase per bottle on 2017 at R1,153 per 750ml. This was followed by Cabernet Sauvignon up 15% (R737 per 750ml) and Shiraz up 5.7% (R637 per 750ml) on 2017. Shiraz was the biggest seller by cultivar with 22.6% of all wine sold on auction. The top 10 red wines for 2018 were:

  1. R15,000 – Chateau Libertas 1968 (3 x 750ml = R5,000 per 750ml)
  2. R10,000 – Nederburg Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon 1975 (3 x 750ml = R3,333 per 750ml)
  3. R10,000 – Chateau Libertas 1978 (3 x 750ml = R3,333 per 750ml)
  4. R18,000 – Kanonkop Pinotage 2001 (4 x 1.5L = R2,250 per 750ml)
  5. R10,000 – Oude Libertas Pinotage 1978 (3 x 1.5L = R1,667 per 750ml)
  6. R9,500 – Alto Shiraz 2008 (6 x 750ml = R1,583 per 750ml)
  7. R9,000 – Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2012 (6 x 750ml = R1,500 per 750ml)
  8. R8,000 – Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 (6 x 750ml = R1,333 per 750ml)
  9. R8,000 – Zonnebloem Pinotage 1978 (6 x 750ml = R1,333 per 750ml)
  10. R8,000 – Nederburg Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (6 x 750ml = R1,333 per 750ml)

Dry White Wine

On the white wines, Sauvignon Blanc delivered impressive pricing growth, up 47% on 2017 at R329 per bottle and Semillon up 12% at R287 per 750ml. The top 10 white wines for 2018 were:

  1. R5,000 – Hermanuspietersfontein Nr.5 2012 (6 x 750ml = R833 per 750ml)
  2. R4,800 – Ken Forrester The FMC 2010 (6 x 750ml = R800 per 750ml)
  3. R4,500 – DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2015 (6 x 750ml = R750 per 750ml)
  4. R3,500 – Bloemendal Suider Terras 2015 (6 x 750ml = R583 per 750ml)
  5. R3,500 – Vergelegen G.V.B. White 2013 (6 x 750ml = R583 per 750ml)
  6. R3,500 – Delaire Graff Estate White Reserve 2011 (6 x 750ml = R583 per 750ml)
  7. R3,200 – Spioenkop Riesling 2013 (6 x 750ml = R533 per 750ml)
  8. R2,800 – De Wetshof Estate Bateleur Chardonnay Magnum 2015 (3 x 1.5L = R467 per 750ml)
  9. R2,600 – Bosman Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2008 (6 x 750ml = R433 per 750ml)
  10. R2,600 – KWV The Mentors Chardonnay 2012 (6 x 750ml = R433 per 750ml)

Noble Late Harvest

The 8 Noble Late Harvests on auction achieved the following prices:

  1. R4,500 – Nederburg Edelkeur 1996 (3 x 375ml = R3,000 per 750ml)
  2. R3,500 – Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 1998 (3 x 375ml = R2,333 per 750ml)
  3. R3,200 – Nederburg Edelkeur 2012 (6 x 375ml = R1,067 per 750ml)
  4. R3,000 – Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2008 (6 x 375ml = R1,000 per 750ml)
  5. R3,000 – Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest Botrytis 2012 (6 x 375ml = R1,000 per 750ml)
  6. R2,800 – Neethlingshof The Short Story Collection Maria 2011 (6 x 375ml = R933 per 750ml)
  7. R2,400 – Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 2012 (6 x 375ml = R800 per 750ml)
  8. R1,600 – Asara Carillon 2012 (6 x 500ml = R400 per 750ml)

Fortified

The highest price achieved for any item on auction was R7,000 per bottle for the 1948 Monis Collectors Port. The 7 fortified wines on auction achieved the following prices:

  1. R21,000 – Monis Collectors Port 1948 (3 x 750ml = R7,000 per 750ml)
  2. R19,000 – Nederburg 64 Port 1964 (3 x 750ml = R6,333 per 750ml)
  3. R4,800 – Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2004 (6 x 750ml = R 800 per 750ml)
  4. R4,200 – De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2004 (6 x 750ml = R700 per 750ml)
  5. R2,000 – La Couronne Muscadel NV (6 x 375ml = R667 per 750ml)
  6. R1,800 – Nuy Wit Muscadel 2006 (6 x 750ml = R300 per 750ml)
  7. R1,500 – Nuy Rooi Muscadel 2002 (6 x 750ml = R250 per 750ml)

MCC

Debut participant Le Lude, performed extremely well with their 3 MCC entries as did Vondeling with their Mèthode Ancestrale Rurale.

  1. R6,000 – Le Lude Vintage Brut Agrafe 2012 (6 x 750ml = R1,000 per 750ml)
  2. R5,500 – Le Lude Vintage Cuvee 2012 (3 x 1.5L = R917 per 750ml)
  3. R5,200 – Vondeling Rurale 2013 (6 x 750ml = R867 per 750ml)
  4. R4,200 – Le Lude Vintage Brut 2012 (6 x 750ml = R700 per 750ml)

Four debut participants participated in the 44thNederburg Auction. Bartinney sold a mixed case (6 x 750ml) of their maiden vintages Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Chardonnay 2008 for R3,500 (233% above reserve), Beau Constantia sold their Lucca 2011 (Bordeaux Red Blend) for R5,500 per 6 bottle case (305% above reserve), Le Lude had 3 MCC’s with their Vintage Brut 2012 achieving the highest premium above reserve at 233%. Sijnn completes the debut participants for 2018 with their Touriga Nacional from Malgas region selling for R3,500 per case (167% above reserve). All outstanding achievements for their first auction appearance.

The auctions’ focus over the past 8 years has been to attract a greater number of top-quality producers and provide a platform for serious wine collectors to bid on a well-curated wine line-up. This focus is paying dividends for producers, buyers and the industry at large. Michael Fridjhon said recently: “The Nederburg Auction had been on a bit of a rollercoaster ten or fifteen years ago but lately it’s settled down: less glitz and more gravitas and a clear path forward.”

This supports this year’s auction theme “Evolve”, where change is the only constant. There is an ongoing effort to attract the top producers and satisfy the ever-increasing demands of the discerning bidders to ensure the Nederburg Auction remains relevant, sustainable and a world-class industry platform.

Please click here for the full and detailed sales results presentation. All prices and figures quoted in this press release and the presentation exclude VAT. The dates for the 45thNederburg Auction will be announced soon.

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