A name synonymous with the Nederburg Auction is that of Patrick Grubb, who was the auctioneer at this event for 31 consecutive years, 1975 to 2005 – a feat recognised in the Guinness Book of Records. He announced his retirement at the end of the 2005 Auction.
Mr Grubb, now an independent wine consultant, headed the Wine Department and was a director of British auction firm Sotheby’s until the end of 1984. As a member of the British Institute of Masters of Wine, he has also become world-renowned as a wine taster.
Patrick Grubb’s association with South Africa started at birth. His grandfather was a Kimberley mine manager and his father was born in Pietermaritzburg. At the age of 17, Patrick made his first acquaintance with wine, and it was in consequence of this experience that he joined a French wine company in Bordeaux three years later, in 1952. His rise in the wine industry was meteoric; in 1958 he became a member of the Institute of Masters of Wine – at 25 the youngest member ever admitted.
Buyers, participants and guests admired and enjoyed his expertise, the clear and well-modulated voice with which he conducted the proceedings, the wit that he brought to the serious business of wine selling and his manifest confidence and efficiency -= not to mention his unique choice of words in appraising the wines. If Nederburg has become synonymous with the term ‘wine auction’ in South Africa, no less has Patrick Grubb become identified with both.