High prices and silly names at CWG auction

For a moment I thought I was on to something, and that it was the wines with silly names that did worst at the CWG Auction. In fact, of course, I should not say “worst”, but “least well”, because the whole thing was a great success for pretty well all the winemakers involved. Those who thought that the Nederburg Auction bombed (again) just because of the recession will perhaps think again in the face of how well the CWG version went.

As the press release (which is generally somewhat confused about whether to use commas or spaces to separate 1000s) had it: “Bidding was brisk and the wines fetched unexpected high prices right from the onset culminating in a record turnover of R5,204 400. This represents an increase of over 5% on last year despite the global recession and a 10% reduction in the quantity of wine that went under the hammer this year. The highest price fetched for a case of wine (equivalent of 6 X 750ml bottles) was R5 200 for Peter Finlayson’s  Bouchard Finlayson Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2007(1,5 litre bottles), followed closely at R5 100 by Louis Strydom’s Engelbrecht Els CWG 2007 and Marc Kent’s Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2007.” The prices are all without VAT.

The highest price for a white table wine was R3 500 for Ataraxia Chardonnay 2008; for a dessert wine it was R4 600 for Badenhorst Kalmoesfontein Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2008. I’ll list the other prices at the end of this article.

But compare this with the dreary performance of Nederburg, just a few weeks back (I suppose it will be argued that the global recession came to an end during that time). Nederburg’s income went down – again, and CWG is now far ahead of it in terms of value, if not quantity. Also ahead in terms of price: Nederburg achieved a 9-litre case price average of R1 099; the CWG average for a 4.5-litre case was R2 288! Of course, CWG is still heavily at the mercy of restaurateur Alan Pick, whose purchases accounted for about 20% of the total (and who will sell all the wines far too young and very expensively), but it is clear that allowing small purchasers to buy at auction is paying off very well for the CWG: there were 159 buyers this year, “the most ever to bid at the auction and 59% more than last year”.

As to my theory about silly names: the most prolific inventor of such names, Bruce Jack of Flagstone, had two wines doing comparatively poorly: the Weather Girl got the 2nd-lowest average price overall, and The Secret Handshake the 6th-lowest. Lowest was De Grendel’s Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc, but that doesn’t really count as a silly name as it is, after all, the name of the vineyard. But Solo The Guardsman does qualify (fourth lowest), as does, spectacularly,  Louis Nel’s Neighbour’s Wrath Cabernet Sauvignon. At the top end, the top nine wines all had sensible dull names (I’ve decided not to count Jordan Sophia as silly, as is my right), and then we get De Trafford Perspective which is not as silly as the Bruce Jack sort of thing, and soon after that Neil Ellis’s Rodanos – and I confess I have no idea at all why the wine is called that or what it means (and google isn’t much help). But if silliness and comparative lack of success is not a rule, I would claim it as a tendency, based on these results….


Here are the wines sold, showing the average case (4.5 litre equivalent) price, from highest to lowest (and sorry, our website doesn’t handle tabs and tables well):


  • Bouchard Finlayson Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2007 (1.5L bottles)                                           4800.00
  • Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2007                                                               4437.50
  • Badenhorst Family Wines Kalmoesfontein Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2008                  4420.00
  • Engelbrecht Els CWG 2007                                                                                                4340.00
  • Bouchard Finlayson Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2007 (750ml bottles)                                         3992.00
  • Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2007                                                      3497.78
  • Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest Semillon Auction Reserve 2006                            3420.00
  • Jordan Sophia 2007                                                                                                           3275.56
  • Ataraxia Chardonnay 2008                                                                                                3155.56
  • De Trafford Perspective 2007 (375ml bottles)                                                                   3130.77
  • Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Shiraz 2007                                                                             2980.00
  • Neil Ellis Rodanos 2007                                                                                                      2887.50
  • De Trafford Perspective 2007 (750ml bottles)                                                                   2805.00
  • Cape Point Vineyards Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2008                                       2766.67
  • Waterford Estate Auction Reserve 2005                                                                           2765.71
  • Villiera Shooting Star Chardonnay Brut 2005                                                                    2717.65
  • Luddite Figjam Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvignon 2007                                                            2562.50
  • Beyerskloof Cape Blend 2007                                                                                                                                           2504.76
  • Simonsig Auction Reserve Shiraz 2007                                                                            2450.00
  • Saronsberg “Dewaldt Heyns” Shiraz / Viognier 2006                                                       2392.00
  • Boplaas 12 Year Old Potstill Brandy Auction Reserve                                                      2383.33
  • Nitida Decorous Sauvignon Blanc 2009                                                                             2226.67
  • Neil Ellis The Graduate 2006                                                                                              2216.00
  • Beyerskloof Pinotage 2007                                                                                                2028.00
  • Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2008                                                                      1977.50
  • Boschkloof Auction Reserve Shiraz 2006                                                                         1976.67
  • Saronsberg Die Erf Viognier 2007                                                                                     1735.71
  • De Grendel Cabernet Sauvignon 2006                                                                              1500.00
  • Louis Nel Neighbour’s Wrath Cabernet Sauvignon 2007                                                   1450.00
  • Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005                                                             1448.89
  • Cederberg Private Cellar Semillon 2009                                                                             1395.00
  • Simonsig Auction Reserve Pinotage 2007                                                                         1360.00
  • Villiera Terre Rouge 2005                                                                                                  1335.00
  • Cape Point Vineyards Auction Reserve Semillon 2008                                                     1315.00
  • Boplaas Cape Vintage Auction Reserve Port 2003                                                           1256.25
  • Flagstone The Secret Handshake 2005                                                                             1218.52
  • Kaapzicht Cape Blend Auction Reserve 2006                                                                   1164.00
  • Solo The Guildsman 2006                                                                                                  1124.00
  • Overgaauw D.C. Classic 2007                                                                                          1025.71
  • Flagstone Weather Girl 2006                                                                                             990.00
  • De Grendel Die Koetshuis 2008                                                                                         892.50

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