Nederburg Auction as much about brands and marketing as fine old wine


Who paid R42 000 for this tiny bottle then?

DESPITE a clause in the conditions of sale applicable to the Nederburg Auction of rare South African wine stating that buyer’s cards will be issued to licensees (only), i.e. not to the public in general, private buyers have been admitted to the bidding hall since 2012, albeit by invitation only and after going through an application process. These collectors buying in their own capacity rather than via a retailer, say, accounted for 22% of total sales at the 2016 edition of the auction on the Nederburg farm in Paarl. However the identities of the buyers are not disclosed – so we don’t know who secured those seriously matured reds from the bowels of Distell‘s maturation cellars in Stellenbosch, wines that went for over R7000 per 750ml bottle in the case of a 40-year-old Zonnebloem Shiraz. Ditto that tiny (275ml) bottle of sweet dessert wine from Joubert-Tradauw outside Barrydale in the Klein Karoo that fetched R42 000 – and not for the first time!

Something similar took place at this auction in 2015. Apparently there are people inclined to believe that the wine listed in the catalogue as ‘Jaubert Family Muscat 1800’ is over 200 years old. In fact the 1800 refers not to the vintage but rather to when the winemaking began, more or less anyway, i.e. before a type of solera process got underway. Or could this be a marketing stunt perhaps?

Curiously, there is no mention of the pricey Jaubert Muscat d’Alexandrie in Distell’s summary of the event. The first wine touched on in the report is the De Wetshof Finesse Chardonnay 1993 from Robertson that fetched the highest price of all the whites on offer – R1500 per bottle, followed by DeMorgenzon Chardonnay 2013 at R1083 a bottle and Ken Forrester‘s The FMC Chenin at R1000 a bottle, both WO Stellenbosch. The highest price achieved by the reds was R7333 a bottle for the Zonnebloem Shiraz 1976, but apart from such museum pieces the top prices fetched per bottle were for the Stellenbosch wines De Toren Fusion V 2005 (R2166) and Kanonkop Pinotage 2006 (R1666), Vergelegen V 2004 (R1583) from Somerset West and La Motte Shiraz 2009 (R1583) from Franschhoek.

Some 82% of the total spend of R7.59m on 146 items / 10 506 litres / around 1167 cases / roughly 14 000 bottles was by local bidders, with Taiwanese (10.9%) and Namibian (10.6%) bidders collectively the biggest international buyers by far. South Africa’s Tsogo/Southern Sun hotel group and SPAR supermarkets were the top buyers overall, accounting for more than 25% of the total spend.


R7333 – Zonnebloem Shiraz 1976 (Distell)

R4750 – Monis Port 1948 (Distell)

R4667 – Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1966 (Distell)

R4333 – Chateau Libertas 1968 (Red Blend, Distell)

R3667 – Chateau Libertas 1986 (Red Blend, Distell)

R3333 – Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon 1986

R3250 – Chateau Libertas 1979 (Red Blend, Distell)

R3167 – Zonnebloem Pinotage 1976 (Distell)

R2833 – Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur 1979 (Sweet Dessert)

R2750 – Lanzerac Pinotage 1969 (Distell)

R2500 – Zonnebloem Pinotage 1986 (Distell)

R2417 – Lanzerac Cabernet Sauvignon 1968 (Distell)

R2333 – Oude Libertas Cinsaut 1971 (Distell)

R1633 – De Toren Fusion V 2005 (Red Blend)

R1583 – La Motte Shiraz 2009

R1558 – Kanonkop Pinotage 2006

R1500 – De Wetshof Finesse Chardonnay 1993

R1475 – Vergelegen V 2004 (Cabernet Sauvignon)

R1333 – Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 1991

R1250 – Kanonkop Pinotage 2003

R1250 – Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

R1227 – Signal Hill Eszencia 2002 (Sweet Dessert)

R1208 – Monis Port 1990 (Distell)

R1200 – Jordan Cobblers Hill 2009 (Red Blend)

R1167 – Lanzerac Muscat d’Alexandrie 1984 (Sweet Dessert, Distell)

R1083 – Diemersdal Private Collection 2011 (Red Blend)

R1067 – Nederburg Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

R1050 – Glenelly Lady May 2009 (Red Blend)

R1033 – Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2007

R1022 – Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2007

R1008 – Morgenster Reserve 2000 (Red Blend)


For more about the Nederburg Auction, click here.



  • Paula Lowth

    I was wondering about the worth of a 1976 Edelkeur half-bottle that I bought at the Nederburg Auction?

    • I would estimate R2300 to R2500 per 375ml for the 1976 vintage… 1976 was sold out years ago, but looking at Nederburg Auction results in the recent past: in 2014, 12 bottles of Edelkeur 1979 sold for R29 000 excl VAT; in 2015, six bottles of Edelkeur 1982 sold for R6000 excl VAT. If you allow a standard retail mark-up of 25% plus VAT, the 1979 sold for R3340 per 375ml (much higher than normal) and the 1982 for R1425 per 375ml.

      Van Deventer is the manager of the Vinotèque Wine Bank at Distell’s Bergkelder in Stellenbosch – Distell being the owner of Nederburg and host of the annual Nederburg Auction in Paarl