Overall income at the 2010 Nederburg Auction completed yesterday jumped to R5 683 810, up 41% from the just over R4 million fetched in 2009 (volumes also up to the equivalent of 5 242 twelve-bottle cases from 4 789).
“More business, less bling” seemed to be the attitude of the organisers, and just what was needed to reverse a four-year trend of declining sales. Gone were the dedicated bubbly, brandy and espresso bars. Gone were the constant supply of canapés by celebrity chefs instead replaced by an old-fashioned buffet (which attendees seemed quite happy with if the groaning plates I witnessed were anything to by). Gone was the traditional fashion show.
On the whole, Nederburg brand owners Distell deserve credit for breathing new life into the institution that is the auction, but I’m not sure that the no-frills approach had to stretch quite as far as the only drink available until lunch time being Nederbug Premièr Cuvée Brut. This bubbly is a blend of Crouchen Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Colombar and is made according to the charmat method, the wine undergoing secondary fermentation in bulk tanks and is hardly Nederburg cellarmaster Razvan Macici’s most accomplished wine.
By the end of the mid-afternoon media conference, I was hanging for a decent drop. Luckily, the venue was the property’s Tasting Centre, and I soon prevailed on the assistant for a glass of Macici’s ultra-premium multi-varietal white blend Ingenuity. He left me and some thirsty colleagues with the bottle. Good man.