Nederburg vs. CWG: time for a Mega-Auction?


Alan Pick is rainmaker for the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction and there was quite a lot of rain around the Cape Town Convention Centre on Saturday. By lunchtime, after it became clear that CWG sales would eclipse the Nederburg Auction of the previous weekend, Mr. Pick was in especially fine spirits, reminiscing with his old friend Beyers Truter on those heady days back in 1972 when Alan would chuck Beyers out of his Spur steakhouse in Stellenbosch by switching off the lights. Beyers and buddies would adjourn next door to carry on discussions and were not well pleased to note the steakhouse open up again as soon as they had left.

cwg Nederburg vs. CWG: time for a Mega Auction?

Alan was in expansive mode, dispensing advice to his audience of groupies and looking exactly like someone who owned the CWG brand, which is how one member of the Guild described him “but don’t quote me.”

Alan has a plan: amalgamate the CWG and Nederburg Auctions into a single event and involve WOSA (Wines of SA, the exporter’s mouthpiece) too. Fly in foreign buyers for three days and assign each to a different farmer for accommodation, entertainment and transportation to the merged mega-auction. Alan’s plan has some merit and comes as a breath of fresh air after detailed analyses of auction PR releases from the usual suspects, too busy to attend the events in person.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to a proposed mega-auction is that Nederburg is restricted to trade (retailers, restaurateurs and game lodges) while the CWG allows the public to bid. But since the trade seems to had stayed away from Nederburg in droves (while those that came kept their hands in their pockets) perhaps the time has come for Distell to revise their guest list. Or at least send their auction wines on a North American and European road show (as the CWG did) to winkle out foreign buyers from further afield than Zambia and Namibia.