Rare wines to come under the hammer

2009-08-07 00:00

WHAT better way to celebrate 350 years of wine making in the Cape than at the 35th Nederburg auction of rare Cape wines?

That’s the question the organisers of this year’s gala event, taking place at the historic­ Nederburg manor house in Paarl on September­ 11 and September 12, posed when they presented a selection of the wines that will go under the hammer, to the media recently.

The quality of the 50 wines put up for tasting­ was excellent — a definite notch up from last year — and there was a sense of renewed commitment from the organisers to the auction’s primary aim: to showcase stringently selected, award winning and rare Cape wines.

Wine expert Dave Hughes, who was one of the panel leaders during this year’s selection process, believes that the line-up for 2009 is one of the best the auction has ever had.

“I think that this is due to stricter selection criteria than we’ve perhaps had in previous years, resulting in an offering that is really outstanding.”

Distell director Duimpie Bayly says that this year’s selection of wine is a testament to the high standards achieved by local cellar­ masters and viticulturists, and is a “true reflection of the theme for 2009 — a celebration of quality”.

Over the years, this annual auction has established itself as the premier event on the South African wine calendar and is now also recognised as one of the world’s five major wine auctions. Its purpose is threefold — to encourage higher standards in the industry, to develop an awareness of South African wine and to ensure a fair distribution of rare wines.

A total of 5 739 cases of 156 wines from 73 participants (big brands, estates and wineries) will be up for sale. Wine producers that had wines on the first auction in 1975 and that are taking part again this year are Delheim, Groot Constantia, Overgaauw, Simonsig­ and, of course, Nederburg. The participants making their debut this year are Bellevue, Joubert-Tradauw, Lomond, Remhoogte, Lindhorst, Schalk Burger & Sons, and Stellenrust.

This year’s auction aims to highlight the historical significance of 350 years of Cape wine making through a celebration of quality. This theme will be carried throughout the two-day event, including the wine, food and fashion that underpin the Saturday programme. Although the gala garden party, a traditional highlight of the auction, will still take place, it will be a leaner, more structured affair than in the recent past. According to auction spokesperson Carina Gous, this is in keeping with the tight economic climate. “It’s still going to be a fabulous event, but the focus must, and will, be on the auction.”

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