by Michael Fridjhon
The annual auction of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) is an event which has come to be regarded as a barometer of the health of the top-end of the
South African wine trade. The Guild with a membership of just under 40 of the country\'s top winemakers profiles the boutique and cult wine business, rather than the national wholesaler perspective and the auction, now in its 21st year, reflects this dimension.
This year\'s sale was held in Somerset West near Cape Town on Saturday 7th October. In all there were 44 different wines on offer with a combined volume of 2,665 cases 6/750ml. It yielded a total turnover of R3,62m (365,000 , $460,000) an increase of 9.5% on the average case price last year. With volumes on offer fractionally down on 2005, the figure fairly reflects stronger demand, partly from overseas buyers (24% of the sale) profiting from the Rand\'s decline since May 2006.
Unlike other sales elsewhere in wine producing world, most of the revenue is purely commercial the Guild has separate fund-raising initiatives to bankroll the Nedbank CWG Development Trust. Its customers are both trade and private individuals and have averaged between 101 and 130 different purchasers every year since 2001.
Though the event is much smaller than the more high profile Nederburg Auction which has been in existence for just over 30 years, it attracts a higher percentage of active buyers and a greater spread of stock among successful bidders. Four of the top ten purchasers were foreign, from Belgium, Denmark, Scotland and Hong Kong respectively.