Buyers at the Nederburg Auction made it clear over the past weekend: We are not taking part in this recession!
Prices for red, white and sparkling wine surged and, with a spectacular boost from those paid for rare ports, lifted the overall total paid for wine that came under the hammer of auctioneer Anthony Barne (in action above) to beyond R6-million – the first time this figure has been achieved since 2006.
Afterwards Jan Scannell, MD of Distell, the South African wine and spirits giant that organises the event, was almost ecstatic. He told a gathering of wine writers: “We are very pleased with the results.”
Not a single case of wine went unsold. Neither Scannell nor Nederburg winemaster Razvan Macici, could remember when last this had happened at a Nederburg Auction.
The average price paid over the two days of the auction for a nine-litre case of wine was R1985. Last year it was R1506 and in 2009 it was R1099.
At 3091, the number of cases offered this year was lower. Scannell admitted that this had always been the intention, but said it was clear that wine retailers believed that there is now upward momentum in pricing.
The average price paid for dry white wine was R1201. Last year it was R1100 and in 2009 it was R842.
The average price for red wine was R2166. Last year it was R1515 and in 2009 it was R1136.
The only category in which prices came down was Noble Late Harvest. The average price for a nine-litre case was R2596. Last year it was R2711.
Most of the wine sold (54%) is destined for the domestic market. Buyers from Germany (9.1%), Namibia (8.5%) and India (7.8%) also bought steadily. Angola, Kenya and Zambia were also significant buyers, underlining the importance of the African market to South African winemakers.
As has been the case in recent years, supermarket chains Checkers, Spar, Pick n Pay and Makro were among the top ten biggest individual buyers. Checkers bought 10% of the total value of sales at the auction.
The number of registered buyers was 140 – the most since 2007.