THE message in the bottle is clear – despite a still struggling economy with consumers spending less on luxuries, the South African wine market is buoyant.
Although deliberately offering less than half the volume than last year, the prestigious Nederburg Wine Auction achieved sales of R4.38-million at the weekend, close to the R4.7-million notched up 12 months ago.
With the smaller volumes available – and an anticipated sales figure of only around R2.2-million – the final sales tally translated to an overall price of R355 a litre of wine as opposed to R185 a litre last year.
This was due in part to many of the vintages on the auction being no longer available. Distell managing director Jan Scannell said he was very pleased to see a 4.7% increase in wine sales to Africa, accounting for 28.7% (R1249200) of the total auction turnover.
"Africa is coming together," he said. "We are starting to see how we are spreading South African wines into the African continent."
Keynote speaker American wine blogger Joe Roberts said producers needed to tell and sell a story.
"The Millennial generation [18 to 30] is averse to marketing. From the moment they were born, all they've had are messages thrown at them. And most wine brands don't get it. So here is a chance to leapfrog over them by winning a younger generation's hearts."
Highlights included the highest price of R22000, paid by Next International of Nigeria for three 750ml bottles of Zonnebloem cabernet 1973. Other standout prices achieved included R17000 paid for a single case of 6 x 750ml bottles of the Monis Collectors port (Double Stamp Collection) 1948, R8500 paid for one case (6 x 750ml) of Kanonkop cabernet sauvignon 1997, and R7000 paid for one case (6 x 750ml) of the De Krans vintage reserve port 1993.