Checkers’ role as Africa’s leading retailer is confirmed by the speed with which they rolled out Nederburg Auction wines. First thing on Monday morning, their offer of auction wines at their cost pinged into my inbox.
Scali Syrah 2006 at R285 and Strandveld Wines Adamastor 2010 for R170 are two examples and their are wines from Almenkerk, Mulderbosch, Rijks and of course Nederburg itself. That a supermarket is offering Kanonkop Paul Sauer 1994 – the closest SA comes to a Bordeaux First Growth – for R1330, blows a hole a mile wide into the snobby position of some producers that their wines are too good for supermarket sales. With entries closing tomorrow for the Checkers Battle of die Berge festival, a last minute rush is expected from Simonsberg and Helderberg producers.
The festival takes place at Muratie on Saturday with Herman Lensing, award-winning food editor of Sarie, twirling the boerewors at the Western Cape Provincial Round of the Shoprite Checkers Championship Boerewors Competition while yours truly will present the best red, white and pocket-friendly drops of the Helderberg and Simonsberg as chosen blind by a panel under the chairmanship of Danie de Wet.
Checkers already owns cheese, wors and wine retail and it looks like they’re taking aim at the top end of SA wine sales. Which is the best news ever for SA wine producers. The export potential is awesome. Imagine a Nederburg wine bar in each of the 600-800 stores Checkers CEO Whitey Basson says he’s opening in Nigeria. Heck Nederburg already have the brand “Bar One”, a vibeful blend of Cabernet and Shiraz. Perhaps cellar master Razvan Macici could magick up a white blend, Nederburg Basson, for a matching pair.