This is my first wine auction, and I was delighted to be invited by Distell to cover the proceedings.
The organisers brought in a top guy from Bonhams Auctioneers in London who took bids from a large group of people in a tent. I’d say the fact that he spoke as if he had marbles in his mouth helped push the prices up a few percent. Clever move.
You stick your paddle up in the air and bid for lots of really good wine. Everything South African was here, from the rare to the most commonplace.
Obi Ndibe from Nigeria created a frisson of excitement when he paid R62,000 for 6 bottles of port. That’s R10,333 per bottle!
I couldn’t believe anyone would pay that kind of money for a few bottles of Port.
There are buyers here from all over Africa, Scandinavia, The UK, The Middle East, India, Russia and Hong Kong. More locally, the Vineyard Hotel and Spa were also in the bidding, as were Wine Concepts and The Taj Cape Town.
Day one sales are +48% on last year.
The top buyers, spending the most money on day one, were Tops at Spar, followed by Makro and Checkers.
This is an important weathervane for confidence in consumer behaviour in South Africa.
It means that optimism is in the air, and it’s a huge thumbs up for how the food retail industry sees consumer spending recovering in the coming months.
Apart from the wine buying, it’s a big social event. Socialites and media types dot the grounds of the Nederburg Estate.
Nicolette Waterford was here, presenting a TV lifestyle and entertainment show called Fiesta, for KyK net. (It’s on 111 on DSTV). She looked fairylike in a floating shimmering dress with loads of slap on her face for the cameras. Now, Nicolette does not need this level of make up, as she is one of the gorgeous babes in the wine industry.
The heat was on, as prices rose and people sweltered in the warm Spring sunshine.
Last night I attended the braii at Plaisir de Merle where the earth moved for me. Metal legged chairs had been places on a very soft grassed area and as the evening progressed peoples chairs sank into the ground and they toppled over. Eventually my turn came and over I went, legs in the air. Luckily for me, debonair Chris de Klerk, Distell’s man in Johannesburg, was close at had to help me back up. Thanks Chris.
Today sees the conclusion of the auction, and the dress stakes being upped, with the ladies in floral patterned frocks, dresses, gowns,outfits and hats. Some of them making my eyes water.
A little light relief will set in later on in the day as targets are hit, and Three Tons of Fun take to the stage to entertain.
I can’t wait.