Since its inception in 1985, the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction has been a red-letter event on the calendars of wine aficionados both locally and abroad.
With Guild members producing wines in small quantities exclusively for the auction, the event has gained a reputation for being a go-to for anyone seeking to add rare and unique South African wines to their collection.
So much so that it has built up a loyal following over the decades with representatives from some of South Africa’s top hotels, lodges and restaurants among those who return year after year to place their bids.
Now, we know this may sound somewhat intimidating to those who find themselves newly enamoured with the world of wine and curious about taking their purchases up a notch by bidding in the 2023 Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction.
Well, we have some good news for you:
There’s nothing to be nervous about, and much to enjoy along the way.
Here is everything you need to know about getting started:
Do I need to be invited to attend the auction?
No, the auction is open to everyone. All you need to do is create a bidder’s account with Strauss & Co and then register for the auction once registration opens on the Strauss & Co website.
When is the next auction taking place?
This year, the event will be taking place on Friday, 6 and Saturday, 7 October at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, with bidding options including:
- in person at the venue
- virtual live bidding via the Strauss & Co website
- via telephone
- absentee bidding
How will I know when registration for the auction opens?
This normally happens mid-September. But be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for updates.
Apart from the auction itself, what else can I look forward to if I decide to attend in person?
Delicious food from top local chefs, and wines from the members of the Cape Winemakers Guild will be available throughout the Auction.
At what price do the minimum bids start?
An estimated minimum and maximum price for each wine is published in the catalogue, and this is based on the historical prices over the past three years.
How many bottles of wine do I bid on at a time?
You bid on one lot at a time, with lots comprising 12 bottles, 24 bottles or 36 bottles.
How will I know which are the good wines to bid on?
Each auction wine goes through a rigorous selection process, so you can rest assured that every single one is objectively good.
Can you tell me more about the selection process?
The wines are tasted by specialist panels of Cape Winemakers Guild Members to ensure that only those possessing outstanding qualities are selected for the auction.
Before a wine can even be put forward for the Auction Selection Tasting, it needs to be checked by an independent laboratory to ensure the wines are of optimal health and free from faults.
Wines will be grouped together by varietal / blend and tasted blind by small, focussed panels of members who are very familiar with those wines / varietals. Each panel will comprise either 4 or 6 members and a Panel Chairman.
That sounds great, but will there be an opportunity to taste the wines prior to the auction?
Yes! We have Auction Showcases happening in both Cape Town or Joburg at the end of August, where we offer an informal tasting of wines going under the hammer at the 2023 Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction.
We also have two formal, tutored pre-Auction tasting events. The first one takes place in Pretoria at the end of August and the second immediately prior to the event on Friday, 6 October at 12:30 at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West.
Tickets for the showcases and Pretoria tasting will be going on sale on 1 June 2023. The tickets for the Pre-Auction tasting will go on sale on 1 August 2023. Keep an eye on our social media for updates.
Does each guild member produce an auction wine every year?
Members are only obliged to have a wine on Auction once every three years, so you might find that not every member decides to put a wine forward for Auction every year.
Roughly how many different wines are normally put up for auction?
There are usually around 40 wines on offer every year.
What is the average price per bottle normally?
This changes from year to year, but the 2022 statistics are as follows:
- Average bottle price: R1 228 (R948 in 2021)
- Average price per bottle white wine: R1 069 ((R749 in 2021)
- Average price per bottle red wine: R1 317 (R1 066 in 2021)
When will I know if my bid was successful?
Once the virtual live auction has closed on Saturday, 7 October, Strauss & Co will send you an email confirming which lots you have purchased on both the Friday and Saturday sessions and how to check out.
If my bid was successful, when and how will I receive my wine?
Provided you have paid for your wines in full, If you are a South African bidder you should receive your wines at the beginning of November.
There are a number of options available for receiving your wine:
- Delivery by The Vineyard Connection (free within South Africa’s borders)
- Collect from The Vineyard Connection warehouse in Stellenbosch
- Collect from the winery/ies
- Have your wine stored at Wine Cellar in Observatory
If you are an international bidder, you will be able to arrange the shipment of your wine from 27 October 2023.
If I wasn’t successful, will I be able to buy auction wines at liquor stores after the event?
That depends on whether a liquor retailer attends the auction to buy wines for resale.
If you want to know more about the Cape Winemakers Guild or the annual auction, please visit our website.
*Nedbank started sponsoring the Guild in 1996.