“R9m for charity, not too bad for SA!” tweets Chas Banks this afternoon as he climbs onto Emirates, a glass of 2002 Dom P clasped firmly in hand. That the UAE is #20 export destination for SA wine is one statistic not too widely known, so presumably French does not feature in all classes. But having a national carrier famous for its cellar in the sky must drive the Ayatollahs mad.
Chas was of course referring to yesterday’s AfrAsia Cape Wine Auction, the newbie on the block which seems to have knocked the Cape Winemakers’ Guild Auction into second spot at R8.4m and Nederburg into a distant third. Of course the big difference is 100% of the AfrAsia take goes to charity and the organizers don’t rely on the dubious abilities of the SA wine press to promote their event.
By cleverly appointing high flying Auction Patrons like Chas, Madame May de Lencquesaing and Wendy Appelbaum (above), AfrAsia relied on the best kind of press – word of mouth.
If Russia had not invaded the Ukraine necessitating the hasty departure of several eastern European wine farm touting plutocrats, the take would have probably broken ten bar, with Chas setting a cheeky target of R20m for next year. Which will probably be around $1m by then, but hey, at 20c a word for hacks, at least coverage aplenty can be bought in for next year. If needed, which is doubtful as the rich seem to have their own communication systems.
Certainly Wine Enthusiast seemed to have made all the running this year. Did WOSA pay for the WE beano? I do hope so as around the world charity wine auctions are potent marketing vehicles. Perhaps if SA wine journos embrace tattoos as enthusiastically as WE does, they too would crack an invite. Or is it the size of your organ that matters?
Still its straw hats off to all involved as another diamond encrusted date has been added to the Cape Wine Calender. All eyes will now swivel to CWG Auction sponsor Nedbank who are unlikely to let their hard won auction advantage be snatched away by a dynamic new bank on Mauritius seeking to seduce their lucrative private clients. A battle of the auction sponsors has been joined.