The recent 2015 AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction ascended to new heights when an astounding R10.565 million was raised for education in the Cape Winelands, achieving a significant 50% increase on the R7.045 million raised at the inaugural 2014 Auction.
The entire proceeds of the 2015 Auction, without offset or deduction, will go to the Auction beneficiaries, charities actively involved with education, from infancy to adulthood, across the Western Cape.
The glamorous two-day affair launched on the evening of Friday 13th February with The American Express Cape Wine Auction 'Barrel Tasting & Preview' hosted at The Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Stellenbosch. Guests embarked on a journey through wine, food, opera and sculpture amidst a fynbos paradise while the sun set over Table Mountain. Eight chefs flown in by sponsor, Relais & Châteaux, produced a memorable evening of culinary excellence.
The excitement culminated with the grand lunch-time Live Auction on Saturday 14th February at The Olive Press, Boschendal Estate's new function venue. In an extraordinary day of generosity and glamour, exquisite food and the finest wines, 370 prominent wine aficionados and philanthropists from around the globe were gathered to make a serious difference.
The line-up of 37 auction lots which came under the enthusiastic hammer of supreme auctioneer, Iain Banner, included: extremely rare local and international wine collections; gourmet dinners with world renowned chefs; unique art pieces; international travel to exotic locations; exclusive private weekend parties and access to the inner sanctum of the South African wine industry. In an incredible spirit of generosity, the Auction raised a staggering R10.565 million, and donations are still coming in from those not lucky enough to get their hands on one of the Auction lots.
The pinnacle bid of the day was a whopping R800 000 paid for The Vrede en Lust Lot, which included: eight return Air Seychelles business class tickets from Johannesburg to the Seychelles; a stay in a luxury villa with a private beach on the exclusive Eden Island; a three-day cruise on a brand new Powercat, hosted by a private skipper and chef; and a sterling collection of 60 bottles of Vrede en Lust wines.
Other lots fetching high prices were:
- The Port2Port & Saxenburg Lot: a week-long stay at the exclusive Villa Aiola for four guests including transfers from Rome; a private wine tasting at the award-winning Tenuta del Trinora; two signed magnums from both Tenuta del Trioro and Saxenburg Estates; a R10 000 voucher from Port2Port, online purveyors of fine wine; and a private cellar tour, tasting and lunch at Saxenburg; which raised R600 000.
- 'The Godfather' Lot by Paul Cluver: a stellar collection of 60 bottles of Paul Cluver Pinot Noir blended by Andries Burger, and an amazing week-long stay at an 18th century Château in the Loire Valley for eight people; raising R550 000.
- The Môreson & Le Quarter Français Lot: a barrel of Môreson's superb Mercator Premium Chardonnay; a whole weekend of private partying at Le Quartier Français and Môreson, comprising accommodation for 21 couples at Le Quartier Français for two exclusive nights, a private dining experience designed by world-renowned Chef, Margot Janse, and a private party at Môreson's Bread and Wine with exceptional food from Chef, Neil Jewell; raising R500 000.
- A personal commission by internationally acclaimed South African artist, Lionel Smit, a surprise lot and one of the highlights of the day, was readily snapped up for R500 000.
- The Ultimate Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Collection and The Ellerman House Lot, both of which raised R450 000.
- The De Toren Lot that raised R400 000.
- The Hemel en Aarde & Young Guns Lot and The Rickety Bridge Lot, each of which raised R340 000.
- The Glenelly Lot, The Vilafonté lot, The Swartland Revolution Lot and The Warwick Estate 'Trilogy' Lot, each of which raised in the region of R300 000.
All auction proceedings were overseen by Strauss & Co, South Africa's leading auction house of fine and decorative arts. The funds are governed by a board of Trustees - including Michael Jordaan, Ken Kinsey-Quick, Wendy Appelbaum, Siobhan Thompson and Michael Ratcliffe - and audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction maintains complete transparency and ensures the sustainability of the projects it supports.
This global showcase of South African wines was hosted by the accomplished Dan Nicholl as Master of Ceremonies, together with the Auction Partners and Ambassadors, headed up by Honorary Chairs for 2015, John and Erica Platter, the founders of the iconic Platter's wine guide.
On arrival, gentlemen in summer suits and ladies in summer dresses mingled on the lawns, sipping on Boschendal vintage Cap Classique, served from Jeroboams (three-litre bottles) by members of the South African Sommelier Association, while soaking up the warm sunshine and the sweeping mountain views.
Guests were welcomed by the sounds of Queen's 'We will rock you' when the Auction kicked off with an impelling video production that set the tone for the day, inspiring bidders to open their hearts and wallets. A farm-to-fork feast - prepared by Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, Peter Tempelhoff, and Boschendal Estate Executive Chef, Christiaan Campbell - was accompanied by some of the greatest hand-selected South African wines, poured only from large format bottles and served in Riedel glassware.
An elated Mike Ratcliffe commented on behalf of his fellow Trustees and Ambassadors: "We are once again humbled and overwhelmed by the immense generosity shown at this event. Today we have witnessed another outstanding demonstration of the unity of the South African wine industry and the philanthropic capacity of humankind."
|Mike Ratcliffe with Dana and Anneke Buys of Vrede en Lust|
James Benoit, CEO of AfrAsia Bank, the Auction's headline sponsor for the second consecutive year, continued: "We are incredibly proud to be partnered with the Cape Wine Auction team, who share our commitment to making a real difference in the lives of many South African children, by upholding Nelson Mandela's belief that, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world'."
Auction Trustee and ardent supporter, Wendy Appelbaum, closed the day's proceedings, commenting on the enormous success of a spectacular day; and thanking everyone who contributed so selflessly, thereby demonstrating their passionate commitment to this noble cause.