Charity wine auction as much about top brands and objects of desire

OF COURSE, the R15-million raised for various charities thanks to the third AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction – this time at Klein Constantia – was laudable. A worthy cause, for sure: education of the needy in the Cape winelands. But the annual fundraiser also points to hedonistic stuff, highlighting decadent things enjoyed by those fortunate or deserving enough to indulge in the ultimate taste of good living, some of the finest things that money can buy. Moreover, the auction together with the ‘rock star’ party and other events associated with the experience – for which tickets cost thousands per person – also focused the spotlight on some of South Africa’s top wine brands and served as a splendid occasion at which to launch a premium wine, a new brand if you will.

With a few exceptions, the Cape wines either showcased in exclusive lots or offered together in collections assembled by Ellerman House, the Aleit Group and others are classified among the very best of their kind on the basis of good reviews over the past decade or three. However, one wine stood out as the first of its kind: the maiden release of the Touch Warwick Cab, vintage 2014 – ‘The Debut’ sold for R1.3m to Johannesburg businessman Sello Rasethaba, with the balance expected to go on sale towards the end of June 2016 at around R500 a bottle, available on allocation in three-bottle packs from the estate.

WHAT THEY PAID & WHAT THEY GOT

For the full details of the various lots on auction including an illustrated catalogue, see here. Summaries of what was on offer and what was paid are given below – donations and monies raised at associated events supplemented the prices paid at the auction to result in the total amount raised topping R15m.

R1.3 million – Touch Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon – ‘The Debut’
First bottle of wine stemming from a collaboration involving radio DJ Thabo Molefe (TBo Touch) and Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick Estate in Stellenbosch. Three-day wine and golf tour for 10 people, including dinner at Warwick and lunches at various high-end wineries in the Cape winelands, all accompanied by Molefe and Ratcliffe.

R1.25 million – The Port2 Fino Lot
One week for eight guests at Villa Montefino in Portofino, Italy. Including: flights and ground transport; private chef and staff; private poolside sommelier course, an introduction to Italian wines; wine served from a different region of Italy every day; boat trip to San Fruttuoso with lunch on the beach; sunset cruise to Cinque Terre villages.

R675 000 – The Lionel Smit & Chris Erasmus Food & Art Explosion Lot
Wine, food and art experience for 12 guests at artist Lionel Smit’s studio in Strand, catered for by chef Chris Erasmus of the Foliage restaurant in Franschhoek. Original Lionel Smit painting. Accommodation for 12 at Erinvale Estate Hotel, Somerset West.

R550 000 – The ‘Godfather’ Lot by Paul Cluver
Five-night stay for four couples at Chateau De Vezins in France. Planning dinner at Paul Cluver Wines in Elgin – prepared by top chef Luke Dale Roberts (Test Kitchen) and paired with wines from Paul Cluver Seven Flags and Jacques Prieur.

R450 000 – The Iconic Ouwingerdreeks Lot by Eben Sadie & William Kentridge
Set of six wines in Eben Sadie’s Ouwingerd range from grapes grown in some of South Africa’s oldest vineyards. Original poster of the six labels created by artist William Kentridge – all bottles and prints signed by Kentridge and Sadie.

R450 000 – Seven South African Icons at Ellerman House
Seventy bottles of wine from seven wineries with the wines ranging from 1986 to 2012, i.e. 10 bottles from each winery, namely Hamilton Russell (Pinot Noir), Hartenberg (Gravel Hill), Kanonkop (Paul Sauer), Klein Constantia (Vin de Constance), Sadie Family (Columella), Vilafonté (Series C), Warwick (Trilogy). Three-night long-weekend stay at Ellerman House in Bantry Bay, Cape Town. Seven-course dinner with the winery owners.

R425 000 – The Rickety Bridge Paris & St Tropez Lot
Seven nights for two couples at luxury apartment close to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. Seven nights for seven couples at Les Louvres Private Villa Provence near St Tropez. Three nights for three couples at Rickety Bridge Manor House in Franschhoek. Six-year vertical of Paulina’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

R400 000 – The De Toren Lot
Involvement in the blending of a personalised De Toren Fusion V at the cellar in Stellenbosch. Sixty bottles of the 2015 vintage of De Toren Fusion V. Two-night stay for two couples at the boutique Hotel Vougeot in Burgundy, France, hosted by Domaine Bertagna. A tasting in the cellar of Domaine Bertagna. A magnum of each of Bertagna’s Premier Grand Crus: 2009 Vougeot Clos de la Perriére and 2009 Nuits St Georges Les Murgers. Kosta Boda crystal glass artwork by Clas Hakansson, and crystal glass stemware (24 designer glasses and two decanters) from Orrefors, also of Sweden.

R400 000 – The Kanonkop Lot
Eighteen magnums from the Stellenbosch ‘first growth’ Kanonkop – Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Paul Sauer spanning the vintages 2007 to 2013, presented in three specially crafted wooden boxes.

R400 000 – The Ryk Neethling Val de Vie & Zambezi Queen River Safari Lot
Private box for eight people at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Masters at Val de Vie in Paarl. Three-night safari aboard the ‘ZQ’ (four suites) along the Chobe River in Botswana. A round of golf at Pearl Valley with former Olympian Ryk Neethling.

R400 000 – The Vilafonté Members Access at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Lot
A magnum of Vilafonté Series C 2004. A two-night stay and two-star Michelin dining experience for two couples at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons near Oxford in the UK.

R350 000 – The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open & Villas Valriche Lot
Two return business-class or four return economy-class air-tickets from South Africa to Mauritius, including VIP transfers. One-week stay at Villas Valriche. Breakfast at Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort. Participation for two in the 2016 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open pro-am golf tournament.

R350 000 – The Bisquit Experience Lot
Two business-class air-tickets to Paris, France (including VIP transfer). A Cognac cabinet. A decanter of specially-bottled Bisquit Cognac and four Cognac glasses. Overnight stay at François Premier Hotel and a visit to the Bisquit cellars in Cognac for a tasting and private dinner. A night at the 6 Mandel Hotel in Paris, France.

R325 000 – The Bartinney Estate & Strijdom van der Merwe Lot
Collection of wines from Bartinney Estate in Stellenbosch. Unique ‘Cellar Man’ wine rack created by landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe. Dinner for six people at Bartinney, hosted by estate owners Rose and Michael Jordaan.

R325 000 – The Hamilton Russell Vineyards & Royal Portfolio & Lalimalu Lot
Five-litre bottle of HRV Pinot Noir 2013. Current-vintage HRV Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, olive oil and honey for a year. Custom-design Lalimalu necklace. Two-night stay for four at the Birkenhead House boutique hotel in Hermanus, including a barrel-cellar tasting, dinner, breakfast and spa massage. Summer celebration lunch for up to 50 people at Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell’s home in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Bollinger Champagne and oyster experience at the top of Hamilton Russell Vineyards overlooking Walker Bay.

R300 000 – The ‘Chimera’ Rockstar Wine Lot
Seventy-two magnums of Chimera with a once-off label and the original artwork, designed by artist Hennie Niemann – Chimera being a once-off blend comprising Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge outside Hermanus, Momento Verdelho from Bot River, Alheit Magnetic North Chenin originating in Citrusdal, and Thorne & Daughters Semillon from a century-old vineyard in Franschhoek.

R300 000 – The David Finlayson Edgebaston Lot
Collection of GS Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 in various pack sizes (equivalent to 11 cases of 750ml bottles). Private dinner for 10 people at the Edgebaston winery in Stellenbosch, with food prepared by Chaine de Rotisseurs member and Lebanese chef Ghenwa Steingazner.

R300 000 – The Ernie Els Wine & Golf Travel Experience Lot
A 12-bottle collection of the Ernie Els Signature blend. A premium Stellenbosch wine experience for four including a tutored tasting of Ernie Els wines led by cellarmaster Louis Strydom, a (golf) chipping competition, a three-course dinner at the Big Easy restaurant and a night’s accommodation at the Hilton. A golf travel experience for two couples that spans the Durban Country Club, the Els Club at Copperleaf in Johannesburg and the Oubaai Golf Club in George (including accommodation).

R300 000 – The Thelema Lot
A blending experience hosted by proprietor Gyles Webb, involving a selection of wines from the 2015 vintage at Thelema Mountain Vineyards in Stellenbosch. A 225-litre barrel (275 bottles) of the winning bidder’s selected blend. A winemakers’ lunch at Thelema for five people.

R275 000 – The Elgin Winemakers Lot
A 225-litre barrel of Syrah blended by the Elgin winemakers of Iona, Almenkerk and Richard Kershaw, with the wine to be bottled in the bottle formats of the winning bidder’s choosing.

R250 000 – The Boschendal Lot
Thirty cases of wine – a customised blend with personalised back-labels. Accommodation and a feast for 10 people in the Rhodes Cottage at Boschendal outside Franschhoek, followed by a Champagne breakfast and wine tasting led by the winemaker. The option of a cooking demonstration with Boschendal’s executive chef, a horse-riding experience, a mountain-bike trail experience, a hike or fynbos walk, or trout fishing at Boschendal. Dinner at the manor house.

R250 000 – The Glen Carlou & Grande Roche Hotel Lot
Wine blending experience with the cellarmaster at Glen Carlou in Paarl. A 225-litre barrel of Glen Carlou wine. Private five-course celebration lunch or dinner experience for 20 guests at Glen Carlou. One-night stay for 10 couples at the Grande Roche Hotel.

R250 000 – The Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Experience
A three-night stay for 12 people in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley outside Hermanus – including a braai for 12 at the Bouchard Finlayson manor house, hosted by cellarmaster Peter Finlayson, a lunch with the proprietors of Creation Wines, Carolyn and JC Martin, and a six-course tasting menu with the Newton Johnson family. A selection of the valley’s Pinot Noirs in large-format bottles: Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak 2006, 2007 and 2008, Creation Art 2015 and Reserve 2015 (with Riedel glasses), Cystallum Cuvée Cinema 2014, Domaine Des Dieux Josephine 2011, Hamilton Russell 2000, Hannes Storm Vrede 2013 and Moya 2013, La Vierge 2011, 2012 and 2013, Newton Johnson 2015 and Sumaridge 2013. Six bottles of Ataraxia Chardonnay 2013. Plus a Leanne Dryburg photography workshop for 12 people.

R250 000 – The La Motte Lot
Thirty-six bottles of La Motte’s Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2015 and 36 bottles of the 2013 Pierneef Syrah Viognier. Bronze sculpture (Harvest Girl) by Toby Megaw. Lunch for four at the Pierneef á La Motte Restaurant in Franschhoek.

R250 000 – The Laborie ‘Luxury Long-Weekend Celebration’ Lot
Three-night stay for 16 people in the Jonkershuis at Laborie, including a helicopter flight for one couple from Cape Town to the farm in Paarl, a tapas dinner dinner for 16 at the Taste restaurant, a vineyard tour and MCC Champagne Masterclass, a celebration party for 30 guests at which a five-course meal will be served, with entertainment provided by a string quartet or DJ, and finishing with a Champagne breakfast for 16.

R250 000 – The Meerlust Cabernet Franc & Rovos Rail Lot
A selection comprising 30 750ml bottles, six magnums, three double magnums and a jeroboam of Meerlust Cabernet Franc – the first and only bottles of this varietal wine from the Stellenbosch estate. A three-night two-day KZN safari on Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Durban, or vice versa, including excursions to the Nambiti Private Game Reserve, a tour of the battlefields at Spionkop and the unusual ceramics of Ardmore. Lunch for eight guests at the private homestead of Meerlust owner Hannes Myburgh.

R200 000 – The Joubert-Tradauw Family Vineyard and Sanbona Private Game Reserve Lot
A bottle of Jaubert Family Muscat Circa 1800 and a selection of Joubert-Tradauw Family wines. A barrel-tasting presented by winemaker Meyer Joubert and lunch at the farm outside Barrydale in the Klein Karoo. Two nights’ accommodation for four guests, either at the Gondwana Family Lodge or Tilney Manor on the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, or at the Villa di Vignamaggio in Tuscany, Italy.

R200 000 – The Louis XIII ‘Art of Genius’ Experience
A series of five food, Cognac and art experiences of Louis XIII matured over 100 years, a blend of up to 1200 eaux-de-vie crafted by four generations of cellarmasters – an evening for 10 people hosted by Aubergine Restaurant chef Harald Bresselschmidt at the Goodman Gallery of contemporary art in Cape Town.

R200 000 – The Môreson ‘Chardonnay Geek’ Harvest Lot
Accommodation for two during the harvest season at Môreson in Franschhoek. Involvement in the harvest and the winemaking. Chardonnay harvest feast with the Môreson team in the owner’s private residence. A barrel of Chardonnay (65 cases).

R200 000 – The Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons Lot
Fourteen bottles of Rupert & Rothschild Baron Edmond, from the maiden 1998 vintage to the 2012. A two-night stay for three couples at the Rupert & Rothschild manor house, with wine tasting conducted by the cellarmaster and lunch prepared by the award-winning chef. Dinner at a restaurant of choice in the Franschhoek valley.

R200 000 – The Ultimate Weekend in Robertson Wine Country With The Anna Foundation
A week-long, quintessential Robertson wine experience for 10 couples: accommodation at Die Laaitjie in a Dassieshoek valley of the Langeberg mountains; a cellar tour, a barrel-tasting of Chardonnays and a gourmet lunch with the De Wet family at De Wetshof Estate; a relaxed wine tasting and lunch with Springfield owner Jeanette Bruwer; an MCC Sparkling Wine Masterclass with Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira; an underground wine tasting, tractor drive through the vineyards and lazy lunch at Weltevrede in Bonnievale; a safari on the Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve and a braai with the conservationist in the lapa on the reserve; De Wetshof and Graham Beck gift-packs for each guest.

R200 000 – The Vriesenhof & Majeka House Lot
Eight vintages (2007 – 2014) of Vriesenhof Old Vine Grenache – 10 magnums of each, all 80 signed by cellarmaster Jan ‘Boland’ Coetzee. Gourmet braai for 10 people at Vriesenhof in Stellenbosch. Two nights accommodation (dinner, bed and breakfast) for five couples at the Majeka House boutique hotel near Vriesenhof. A tour of Dylan Lewis Scuplture garden, hosted by the sculptor.

R175 000 – The Constantia Glen Liz McGrath Collection
A melchior (18-litre bottle) of Constantia Glen Five. VIP tour of the estate, followed by a wine tasting and lunch on the estate before a helicopter-flight around the Cape Peninsula and on to Hermanus… A two-night stay for four couples at The Marine Hotel in Hermanus. An exclusive dinner for four couples at The Greenhouse restaurant of the Cellars Hohenort Hotel in Constantia.

R175 000 – The Ultimate Stellenbosch Cabernet Experience, Prepared By The Aleit Group
Twenty-one cases (126 bottles) of Stellenbosch Cabernet spanning the last 15 years: Alto, De Trafford, Ernie Els, Glenelly, Kanonkop, Le Riche, Meerlust, Neil Ellis, Oldenburg, Rust en Vrede, Rustenberg, Simonsig, Starke-Condé, Thelema, Uitkyk, Vergelegen, Vergenoegd, Vriesenhof, Warwick, Waterford, Zonnebloem. Dinner for six couples at the Schoongezicht Manor House on Rustenberg Estate in Stellenbosch. A two-night stay for six couples at Oldenburg Homestead and a gourmet picnic for 12 at Warwick Estate. Transport and driver included.

R150 000 – The Constantia Valley Experience
Two-night stay for four people at The Last Word guesthouse in Constantia. A zipline experience and brunch at Silvermist Estate. A four-hole golf experience on the slopes of Beau Constantia (with the owner), followed by a wine tasting and sushi at the top of the estate. A 4×4 experience and VIP tasting at Eagles’ Nest, with charcuterie and cheese board on the lawn. A mountain bike adrenalin experience at Constantia Uitsig with Chris Nixon, MTB Masters World Champion in 2013, followed by lunch at the Open Door restaurant on the property. A dining experience at Buitenverwachting – four courses paired with wines from the farm, hosted by proprietor Lars Maack.

R150 000 – The Groot Constantia ‘Wine & Art’ Lot
Twelve bottles of the award-winning Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013. Five original artworks from the painters Anna Gad, Kim Mobey, Peter van Straeten, Sue Maas and David Bucklow. A cellar tour and barrel-tasting with the Groot Constantia cellarmaster. Dinner for 10 people at the Jonkershuis Restaurant.

R125 000 – The Bouchard Finlayson Lot
Three-night stay including breakfast for two at either the Red Carnation Hotel in London or the 12 Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay, Cape Town. Twelve Bouchard Finlayson magnums – Galpin Peak and Hannibal – across a range of vintages from the farm in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley outside Hermanus.

R125 000 – The De Grendel Lot
A bottle of De Grendel’s ‘Sir David Graaff First Baronet of Cape Town’ and a magnum of ‘John Meyer Rubaijat 2011’. A helicopter trip for four people from the V&A Waterfront to the De Grendel Restaurant outside Durbanville for a wine tasting and lunch before flying on to the Graaff’s family home Blombos on an isolated stretch of coastline – a two-day stay, accompanied by Sir De Villiers Graaff and the De Grendel cellarmaster, with great food, great wine and good fishing.

R125 000 – The Oldenburg Lot
A five-litre bottle of 2012 Oldenburg Cabernet Sauvignon, three nights’ accommodation for four couples at the homestead in Stellenbosch, a tutored tasting led by the cellarmaster, and a five-course wine-pairing dinner for eight guests at either the homestead or tasting room at Oldenburg.

R100 000 – The Steenberg Lot
Three-night stay for two couple in the Khoi Khoi suite at Steenberg Hotel in Tokai, Cape Town. A wine-paired dinner at Catharina’s restaurant and a private dinner in the Kohi Khoi suite. Lunch at Bistro Sixteen82. A round of golf and refreshments. A massage at the Steenberg Spa. Twelve bottles of wine.