The 31st Cape Winemakers Guild Auction
07 October 2015
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Great things start here, great things start now, and this is Old Mutual Live. I’m Brad Brown. Time to chat some more wine and it’s great to be able to welcome someone who’s been on the podcast before. He’s back again to chat a little bit about an event that’s coming up very, very soon. It is taking place on the 3rd October. It is the Cape Winemakers Guild’s Auction – the 31st edition. It’s been going for a long time.
It’s become an institution on the South African wine calendar and this year, once again, following the showcases, anticipation is high to see what some of these magnificent wines are going to go for at the auction. It’s a great pleasure to welcome the Chairman of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild onto the podcast today, Andries Burger. Andries, welcome back. It’s nice to catch up once again.
Andries Burger: Thank you very much Brad. You’re welcome and it’s good to be back.
BB: Andries, excitement building ahead of the auction and I was interested to see that this year is a slightly fewer cases of wine, than in 2014, but at the end of the day it’s not about quantity it’s all about quality.
A great diversity of wine on auction
AB: Absolutely, there is a little bit less wine on auction but I think it’s a good thing, but also what is very interesting is that the diversity that we’re putting up on auction. Although the Shiraz has got a very strong category, but there’s something new, like there’s a Portuguese blend from Bo Plaas. There’s a strong wine, but then there’s also interesting like a Barbera, so there’s some interesting wines up for auction.
I think the key to this year is diversity. Some members worked towards their strengths, like us, at Paul Cluver, we worked toward Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Then some other producers like to do something real funky and, you know, Bruce Jack has got a Barbera. Neils Verburg from Luddite has got one called the Monster Shiraz Cap this year. Andrea Mullineux again with a “The Gris” Semillon, and also a new Chenin on auction, so I think there’s something for everybody on auction this year.
BB: Yes, I love it. You say some of the winemakers are sticking to their strengths but some of them are really out there, and there’s some excitement. There’s a couple of debutants. You mention the Barberats the first time that they’re going to be on auction, making their debut. Another one is Bo Plaas, Daniel’s legacy Cape Portuguese Red Blend 2013. That’s a fantastic wine that isn’t it?
AB: Absolutely, no it’s a fantastic wine. It’s something quite unique and it is very interesting to see how it will be received by the public. I think the auction is a great platform for showcasing wines like these.
BB: Yes, Andries, we spoke about it a while ago that people are, and it’s across the board. People are just, generally hesitant to change. One thing I love about the wine industry is that there is quite a bit of, particularly from the public’s perspective, from a wine lover’s perspective, that there is a bit of experimentation. That’s the way you discover new wines and we spoke about the showcase the last time we chatted.
This is a great opportunity, this process, for someone to discover wines. Yes, there are in limited quantities, so you’re probably not going to get it again, but it’s a great way to discover new wines and figure out ‘hey, maybe I actually like this’. It sounds a bit weird on paper but it’s actually awesome.
It’s a chance to get hold of unique wine
AB: Absolutely, and if you look from my perspective. I’ve got a Chardonnay vineyard that is now 27 years old, and we’ve selected one barrel from that vineyard for the auction. So it’s playing onto my strength, regarding Chardonnay, but it is something totally different and unique, to what I offer from my normal wines and the same with the Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir comes from our highest lying Pinot Noir vineyard on the farm, which is totally different to the rest of the wines.
I think what we’re showcasing there is the uniqueness and the difference in sites and the same goes for other members. Then you’ve got Adi Badenhorst with a yellow wine cell, which is totally unique that’s on auction this year, and I think that’s great – offering that diversity.
BB: Andries, from a wine maker, with an auction like this, is it possible to sort of see trends that possibly you can go, ‘hey, you know what, this was really well received, maybe we should look at possibly doing something like this on a larger scale, in the future, from a business perspective?’
AB: Ja, I think, you know you can pick up trends, definitely, and what is actually also unique about the wine industry is that I can actually tell somebody exactly how I made my wine, but you won’t be able to copy it. You won’t be able to replicate the same wine because your growing condition is different from mine. I think that’s sort of working towards your strength and highlighting what is unique, but your own possession is actually, quite great. Definitely, you can pick up trends.
We know red wine, the auction is normally a bit stronger on red wine, but what we’re seeing, for instance, this year is that there’s a bigger percentage of white wine on auction this year, compared to last year.
BB: Just looking ahead, I know it’s probably difficult to call, but is it possible from what you’ve, like just in your opinion and experience. Do you think you know what the ‘show stopper’ is going to be, as of yet, or will that only be really revealed on the night, as far as what the pricing goes for, and how things go in the end?
The real stars of the show
AB: It is very difficult to predict the pricing. We had a fantastic year last year. We obviously had more volume on the auction but it is very difficult to predict what the pricing is going to be. You’ve got wines like the Kanonkop Paul Sauer and the Kanonkop CWG Pinotage. That is always strong wines, and they always sell for quite a few rand per bottle. Etienne Le Riche with his Cab – I think if you think of somebody that you can call ‘King Cab’ then that is Etienne Le Riche. He is the king of Cabinet Sauvignon in South Africa.
On the Chardonnays side it’s always between myself and Gary Jordan (on the Chardonnay side), there’s Waterford as well, so I think the people will have to come and taste the wines at the showcases and also we have a tasting before the auction, the evening before, and decide for themselves what they like. I think there are strong names that always will feature, but then there’s some discoveries to be made that will be very interesting as well.
BB: Yeah, without a doubt, and in your opinion, which wine do you think is the one to watch this year?
AB: Difficult to say. I would definitely look at Rust en Vrede Estate, their Estate wine, Jordan’s auction selection of Chardonnay. Then there’s Hartenberg, always doing very well, and quality wise. But I think something interesting, Mullineux “The Gris” Semillon would be interesting to see. Then also, I think the Barbera from the Drift is something unique, and it’s a new wine on auction, so we’ll see what happens there.
BB: Fantastic. Andries, if people want to come out to the auction where can they get more details? Do they need to get tickets or can they just arrive and get in at the door? What’s the story?
AB: Yes, everybody can arrive but you have to register if you want to be a buyer. The easiest way to get the information is just from the Cape Winemakers Guild’s website, and that is the capewinemakersguild.co.za and all the information will be available there.
BB: It’s all taking place on the 3rd October. We’ll put those links out from our website as well, so if you want to click straight through, from the show notes of this episode you can. Looking forward to it, and yes, let’s hope and see. Maybe it’s another bumper year for the auction. It should be a goodie. Andries, thank you so much for your time, here on Old Mutual Live today, much appreciated. We look forward to catching up again soon.
AB: Super. Thank you very much, Brad.