The Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction celebrates South Africa’s winemaking skill and tenacity – Drinks International
For the first time, it will take place in a hybrid format, which means that buyers from all over the world can list and bid the wines online.
Some of the rarest wines to fall under the hammer of Christie’s auctioneer Charlie Foley include Chateau Libertas 1970, Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2009, Le Lude Rose Agrafe 2012, Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 1999, Uva Mira OTV 2015, Vilafonte Series C 2005 and Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1970.
The wines for the auction were selected by a jury of distinguished South African wine connoisseurs, including Cathy van Zyl MW, Michael Fridjhon and François Rautenbach.
Older bottles of well-preserved South African wine have become increasingly rare in the past due to the lack of temperature-controlled cellars.
Cape Fine & Rare has procured several flawless bottles for the hybrid auction, in which 50 bidders will personally participate. Some date back to the 1960s.
Foley, who worked in Constantia before joining Christie’s, expects it to be a popular event. “Last year we had more bidders and buyers than ever before,” he told Drinks International. “Christie’s customers want everything that is really rare. Our customers have dinner with friends and they want to bring out something that inspires. These rare South African wines – David & Nadia, Eben Sadie, and the early Kanonkop wines – simply cannot be found anywhere else.
“A 1999 canoncope sold for around £ 50 a bottle in 2019, but the only place I can find it is in Japan for £ 150. When you bid on an auction, you get things at an amazing price that no one else has. “
Some of South Africa’s leading brands emerged in the 1990s, and there were some gems of that era that have been preserved over the past two decades. These wines could represent a strong investment opportunity due to their rarity.
Wine Cellar SA predicts that fine South African wine can produce long-term annual returns of 10% to 20%.
“Fine South African wines are a real opportunity for both seasoned collectors and those taking their first steps in building a collection,” said Foley, who is known for wearing brightly colored jackets at auctions. “Fine wines from the country are of exceptional quality, but the lowest in the world. This makes them excellent value for money. Now is definitely the time to try the fine and rare wines of South Africa. “
He appreciates the potential of South African fine wine to appreciate in value in the years to come and maintain the owner’s wealth, but Foley expects most bidders to drink the wine they secure.
“They always hope that customers will drink the wine. In some cases, Henri Jayer and things like that come back. That’s just the nature of the blue chip market. With wines at a certain price, our customers are likely to drink them.
“South Africa always had this place between the old and the new world. It has the maturity of New World style wines, but also the elegant restraint of Old World wines. In recent years, South Africa has really hit the nail on the head while offering maturity and restraint. You can find wines that you want to drink. I always say with investing this is key because if you want to invest in something and resell it, Bordeaux and Burgundy are all good – or it was in the past – but when that fails you want to be able to drink it . “
The South African wine trade has had a very challenging year as production, domestic sales and exports have been severely hampered by tough measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“It’s really awful because they had five restricted time periods and export problems made it harder to find volume wines from South Africa on the shelves,” said Foley. “That was a problem. South Africa has tried to move away from its traditional in recent years [position] in addition to Chile and Australia, large quantities of mature wines for the supermarkets. It interrupted the premiumization process, which is a bit sad, but we’ll be back roaring and that should be great.
“The whole scheme of wine sales in South Africa has changed and this particular auction is about a jury of experts who take a jury of excellent wines from the trendiest producers and offer them mainly to South African private customers now, but the goal of Christie’s commitment is obviously international private because you want to bang for your buck. They like to sell in rand but prefer to sell in pounds or Swiss francs or dollars.
“What grew up in the New World and is very interesting in Napa and now in South Africa is the allocation. David & Nadia is a good example of these gorgeous Swartland chenins made in tiny quantities from old bush vines. They can only be preserved if they hand over their years to their agents. Likewise, you can only get DRC at Corney & Barrow. If you don’t participate in the allotment, you won’t get them. So the auction is a way for people to explore these wines and receive an allocation that represents the future of New World collectable wine. “
The auction will feature all types of rare wines including Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1961, Graham Beck Brut 1994, Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 1994, David and Nadia Hoe – Steen Chenin Blanc 2017, Lammershoek Die Ounooi 2018 Chardonnay, Sadie Family Vineyards Soldier 2017, David & Nadia Skaliekop Chenin Blanc 2015, Delaire Graff Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Kanonkop Paul Sauer Bordeaux Blend 2009.
Foley is particularly excited about Chenin and Cabernet. “I was always blown away by the South African Chenin. The Loire is all well and good, but it’s a hit and miss on various sweet levels, but dry chenin from the Swartland is just amazing. I would just stock up on all of this. Cabernet has really found its way in Stellenbosch from the Cabernet Collective. Older things from Kanonkop are good. Look out for rare items in larger formats from old vintages. “