Wine commentator Mr. Min comes down firmly on the side of the Nederburg Auction in the Battle of the Auctions underway at the minute. Nederburg last week (sorry to have missed Mr. Min on both days of Nederburg) and the Cape Winemakers Guild, this coming Saturday.
Writing on his Gape blog, Mr. Min notes “if Checkers [supermarkets] manages to flog the wine [they bought last week] to shopping housewives and the like smartly, the local wine industry should give them a heroic handshake. So much more significant, from a wine cultural point of view, than the other auction where yuppies shout up prices against one another, and glow in the power of their money, never mind what’s in the glass.”
Now characterizing buyers at the CWG Auction as rich glowing yuppies with no taste is quite a generalization, not so Alan Pick of Butchers Shop & Grill fame, longtime rainmaker at the event? The public tastings were packed and several enthusiasts like Neville Dorrington, owner of Rijks in Tulbagh, asked for my tasting notes. Nev wants to buy selected cultivars and while he may be rich, he’s no yuppie and last time I checked, his glow was beneath detection limits.
While Nederburg is aimed at importers, restaurateurs, wine shop owners and supermarket wine buyers, the CWG focuses squarely on the wine lover looking for something different. This is reflected in small format lots and almost experimental wines: a 2010 Grenache from Dewaldt Heyns (far younger than any Nederburg Auction red) and a 2009 Touriga Naçional from David Trafford (ditto). The attraction of the CWG Auction has always been one of supporting your team and the chance to buy some excellent wine from the likes of Teddy Hall and Louis Nel.
So while Checkers wine buyer Stephanus Eksteen certainly deserves his heroic handshake, Mr. Min does not. For as Nederburg Auction speaker David White pointed out, the days of gatekeepers like Mr. Min are over. People can taste for themselves and few will appreciate being called rich showoffs with a ghostly green glow.