The inaugural AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction, which took place on Saturday, March 15 at the Delaire Graff Estate, exceeded all expectations, raising 7,045,000 rand (approximately $650,000) for charity. The gees, or spirit, in the room was inspiring and infectious as 250 prominent local and international wine aficionados as well as online participants bid on 40 one-of-a-kind auction lots.
The unique lineup included rare wine collections (like Eben Sadie’s Signature “Ammunition Crate” lot, which included the only complete collection of Sadie’s Palladius and Columella wines in the world), as well as exclusive hand-selected local and international wine, food and travel experiences (such as the Relais & Chateaux Ultimate Africa Auction lot, which included luxurious accommodations and airfare to six of the hospitality collection’s finest hotels). Another highlight included a live art exhibit by artist John Adams, whose 8-minute surprise portrait of Nelson Mandela—completed upside down before flipping to reveal the final picture—earned an impressive 460,000 rand at auction.
The top-selling lot was the Mulderbosch & Fable Mountain Vineyards American Dream Lot, a selection from auction ambassador Charles Banks and his Terroir Selections properties. It sold for 700,000 rand, and included round-trip business-class flights for two couples to California as well as dinners at The French Laundry, Faith and Flower, Michel Mina, Matteis Tavern and Restaurant 1833; accommodations at The Biltmore Four Seasons Beachfront Resort, Matteis Tavern, Bernadus Lodge and Hotel Yountville; dinner with Banks at his hime; lunch at Qupé and Mayacamas; and a round of golf for four at Pebble Beach Golf Links. In addition to offering a lot, Banks was also on hand to bid on and acquire some items of his own, exemplifying his passion for and investment in the country as well as the future of the wine industry in South Africa.
The Honorary Auction Chairwoman for 2014, May De Lencquesaing, owner of Glenelly Wine Estate in Stellenbosch and former owner of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, had the room on their feet after delivering a heartfelt speech about the importance of charitable contributions to the beneficiaries needed to improve education in South Africa.
“The future of our wine lands lies in the education of its youth,” May De Lencquesaing said during her speech.
The proceeds from the auction lots and ticket sales went to the auction’s three beneficiaries: The Pebbles Project, The MAD Charity and The Click Foundation. Although the dollar amount isn’t as high as other domestic auction draws, the trustees are confident that the funds will help improve education efforts in the country.
“We are overwhelmed by the immense generosity and startling success of this inaugural event,” said Radcliffe. “Never before has an industry been so united, and never before has the world been exposed to this philanthropic face of the South African wine industry. Today has been an extraordinary day and we look forward to returning annually to continue to realize our dream.”