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Rare and vintage KWV wines sold at inaugural auction

‘White glove sale’ set to aid community upliftment

An exceptionally rare bottle of KWV Reserve Port 1929 was auctioned for a remarkable R25,000 at KWV’s first-ever auction held in the iconic Cathedral Cellar on 7 March. This bottle was the final marquee lot, serving as the grand finale in an evening marked by spirited bidding. The auction, notable for achieving a rarely seen “white glove sale”—a term denoting the sale of every lot—was imbued with an extra layer of significance as all the profits were pledged to the Paarl-based nonprofit organisation, NationBuilder (previously known as Valcare).

The inaugural auction by KWV showcased a meticulously curated collection from its wine vault—a veritable treasure trove of matured vintages: “these wines are of impeccable provenance, straight from our climate-controlled cellars and have all in some or other way out-performed their peers. They are pieces of our history and will make a fine addition to your wine cellar,” KWV CEO John Loomes stated in his opening address.

The event, orchestrated in partnership with the distinguished auction house Stephan Welz & Co, was held in the storied Cathedral Cellar, with online bidding allowed via a live feed. The auction featured 53 distinct items, encompassing a total of 136 lots. Fervent bidding activity propelled the average price to R580.00 per 750ml bottle for red wine and R290.00 for white wine, figures that notably exclude the premium-priced vintage fortified wines and larger Magnum/1500ml formats.

The hammer total culminated in a substantial, though yet to be audited, sales figure of R 673,450. Notably, every lot presented at the auction found a buyer, a testament to the high calibre and appeal of the wines offered – but also the spirit of generosity which characterised the evening.

Loomes expressed his gratitude for all bidders, noting their contribution are set to benefit NationBuilder significantly. This non-profit organisation is renowned for its impactful work in the Cape Winelands, driving positive change in local communities.

Ivan Swartz, CEO of NationBuilder, expressed his gratitude for the ongoing partnership, highlighting the significant impact of the auction’s profits. “We are deeply honoured to collaborate with KWV, an organisation that not only excels in wine production but also shows a heartfelt commitment to community upliftment. The success of this auction will certainly bolster our initiatives, bringing hope and tangible improvements to the lives of many in the Western Cape,” Swartz remarked.

Historic wines yield great impact

Beyond the standout sale of KWV’s Reserve Port 1929, the auction showcased an array of exceptional lots, including wines from KWV’s prestigious flagship range, The Mentors. These wines, celebrated for their numerous accolades, elicited competitive bidding, underscoring their premium status and the deep appreciation connoisseurs hold for KWV’s viticulture and winemaking expertise.

Bennie Howard, a Cape Wine Master and esteemed industry figure, acted as the Master of Ceremonies and rightly referred the wines on auction as “poetry in a bottle”. He lauded the evening’s success and remarked on the dual achievement of the auction: offering bidders the chance to own a piece of viticultural history while contributing to a noble cause.

Auctioneer Anton Welz echoed this sentiment, highlighting the achievement of selling 100% of the lots. “This is the first time in my career that I’ve experienced a ‘white glove sale’ where every lot sold. This auction has certainly set a benchmark for future events, and demonstrated the gravitas of KWV’s brand,” he stated.

Looking ahead with gratitude and pride

“Our hearts are filled with gratitude and pride for the generations of winemakers whose passion, expertise, and dedication have crafted the legacy of KWV’s wines. It is their unwavering commitment to excellence that has also empowered KWV to give back to our community in meaningful ways. Here’s to the artisans of the past, present, and future, whose remarkable talents make every bottle of KWV wine a beacon of quality and a source of positive impact,” Loomes said in closing.