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White wines produced by leading SA winemakers shine at the '22 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction.



Two of the top 4 wines at this year’s Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) Auction were white wines, incidentally produced by leading female winemakers in Samantha O’Keefe of Lismore Estate Vineyards and Andrea Mullineux. The Lismore Valkyrie Chardonnay 2021 from Greyton reached an average of R1,743 per bottle while the Mullineux Trifecta Chenin Blanc 2020 from the Swartland sold at R1,633. Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2019 reached the highest average price of R2,457 per bottle, with Cederberg Teen die Hoog Shiraz 2020 selling at R1,861. Records tumbled as new partners Strauss & Co auctioned 513 lots at a hammer price of R13,985,500, resulting in an average bottle price of R1,227. Prices were up a whopping 30% on 2021, as 30% of the lots were sold to international bidders. All prices quoted are exclusive VAT.


Strauss & Co directors and seasoned auctioneers, Susie Goodman and Bina Genovese were joined on the rostrum for the two-day sale by Roland Peens, fine wine specialist. The three auctioneers sold almost every lot above high estimate, as hugely competitive bidding from 14 countries around the world attracted 230 online bidders. The hybrid live, online-auction was the most attended Strauss & Co auction since the 2020 pandemic, with a busy Friday evening and Saturday at the Lord Charles in Somerset West.

‘There seems to be a changing of the guard, as traditional, big-name producers were outsold by new wave stars’ says auctioneer Roland Peens. ‘The world clearly sees the value of our incredible white wines, which remarkably outbid long-aging and prestigious reds.’ Lismore The Sheltering Sky Syrah 2020 and Mullineux The Gris Sémillon 2021 were also in the top 10 highest prices, while newcomers of Duncan Savage and David & Nadia also sold well with their Savage Wines Auction Syrah 2020 and David & Nadia Veiling Grenache 2021 respectively.


Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions is a joint venture with retailer Winecellar.co.za and sommelier Higgo Jacobs. ‘We are extremely proud of a very successful auction in an era marked by growth and innovation at the CWG.’ remarked Higgo. ‘The cutting-edge platform allowed frenetic, seamless bidding online, live and telephone bids, as energy levels were kept high throughout.’ Strauss & Co also hosted the white-glove Protégé Auction, cultivating the next generation of leading winemakers and viticulturists through mentorship and empowerment by the members of the CWG.


Other notable wines showing the innovation within the industry were the Hartenberg CWG Amphora Merlot 2020 (R1,323 per bottle) and Neil Ellis Wines Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (R1,242). Both reds were aged without oak barrels, a dramatic move away from the new-oak aged reds of the past. ‘Guild members and bidders were stunned by the prices of the white wines that have traditionally sold at a big discount to the reds,’ commented Cape Winemakers Guild vice chair Samantha O’Keefe.


Cape Winemakers Guild chair Gordon Newton Johnson further remarked ‘The revived enthusiasm and activity has been a thrilling experience and the record earnings highlights the surging progression of the CWG portfolio. Kudos to Strauss & Co for a momentous auction under their stewardshipOne of the top buyers this year was Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, as the new 2-day format attracted a healthy mix of private and trade buyers in a weekend full great food, wine and leading winemakers.

See www.Straussart.co.za for details on the 2022 Cape Winemakers Guild wines.