Strauss & Co’s upcoming virtual live auction, which will be conducted on Sunday, 26th July at 11:00 am, is one not to be missed. This sale includes the iconic fine wines of 3 of SA’s greatest producers, namely Boekenhoutskloof, Kanonkop and Klein Constantia. Ahead of the auction, Strauss & Co had the opportunity to speak to the respective winemakers, not only about their own wine lots on auction, but also about selected artworks that hold deeper meaning for them. Read the Q&A below.
Abrie Beeslaar of Kanonkop
Q: Is there a specific piece of art going on auction on 27/28 July that speaks to you? What is it about this artwork that has personal meaning to you?
A: Lot 407, ‘Landscape with Purple Mountains’ by Pierneef evokes memories – the wind you see in the cloud reminds me of Worcester, where I grew up. The wind always had a very relaxing effect on me.
Q: Please tell us about your most impressive wine lot on auction on the 26th and the significance of this lot?
A: Lot 14. This was the first vintage of Black label, and the first new line Kanonkop we created in 20 years. We only produced 1,000 bottles, and the wine sold out within hours.
Q: Please let us know your thoughts on the addition of fine wine and what it means for the development of the secondary wine market in South Africa?
A: Quality SA wine has never had a platform where you could sell older vintages, and that kept the prices relatively low. With Strauss & Co offering wine on these auctions, the true value of older vintages is unlocked, and this will help the perception of SA wine internationally. Hopefully this will also bring the focus back to ageability instead of just accessibility.
Matthew Day of Klein Constantia
Q: Please tell us about your art selection on auction 26-28 July?
A: The piece that speaks to me is Lot 163, Ruan Hoffmann’s ‘Fruit’, ceramic earthenware with porcelain slip, underglaze copper oxide and on-glaze details – it reminds me of the first bush vines of Muscat de Frontignan we planted on the estate, used to make Vin de Constance.
Q: And your most impressive wine lot on auction on the 26th?
A: All of the lots are impressive, however one that stands out would be the 2008 vintage. In October 2015, the Queen of England hosted the Chinese president Xi Jinping and his wife at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, and on the menu was the 2008 Vin de Constance – the iconic wine that is still served to royalty today.
Q: How do you believe Strauss & Co auctions are building the secondary wine market in SA?
A: The concept is amazing and we are so happy that Strauss & Co as well as Wine Cellar fine wine merchants are driving the secondary wine market in South Africa. It’s the most important aspect when it comes to improving the perception of South African wines, moving the industry into a league that can compete with all the other great wine growing regions and countries around the world. When well-aged wine can be sold on these auctions, it shows that they are not only for our immediate enjoyment but can also be a fruitful investment.
Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof
Q: Please highlight your art selection going on auction 26-28 July?
A: The work “Five Figures”, Lot 178, by Colbert Mashile holds special significance for me. I recently celebrated 25 years at Boekenhoutskloof, and my partners here gifted me a spectacular Colbert Mashile work. After 25 years my partners remain the generous-spirited, wonderful bunch that employed me 25 years ago, never once asking for anything other than just “doing our best” in the winery.
Q: We’re excited to hear about the wine lot you’d like to highlight ahead of the auction…
A: Without doubt, the single bottle of 1997 Syrah – we have less than twenty bottles at the winery. It was from a vineyard in Somerset West, that was “grubbed-up” shortly after our harvesting. 8 tons were harvested, 20% whole bunch fermented, all-natural yeast, aged in old wood, bottled fined but un-filtered. It remains the finest wine I believe I have ever produced, and the fact that only a single vintage was produced is part of the mystic. At a time when many in SA were producing big bold Shirazes, heavily oaked in (often) American Oak, this was a departure. The Rhone has always been a reference for me, and my regular visits there help me re-calibrate our wines. More recently, I have enjoyed visiting the vineyards of the Douro – the spectacular landscapes, the humility and generosity of the people, and the incredible gastronomy are unparalleled. The Douro has a special significance for me, as it was the last trip that I did together with my mentor, and friend, the late Tim Rands, in 2014. His vision, intellect, and leadership were an absolute inspiration to me, and many others in our industry.
Q: Please give us your opinion on the addition of fine wine to the Strauss & Co auction portfolio?
A: As South Africa is increasingly being seen as a reliable, consistent, producer of fine wine, this initiative is an obvious and much needed extension of this position.
For more information about the wines and producers featured in the upcoming auction, Wine Cellar CEO, Roland Peens, and expert sommelier, Higgo Jacobs, will be discussing the highlights with the above-mentioned winemakers on Monday, 20 July at 4:00 pm on Zoom.
Join the Zoom session here. (Meeting ID: 844 8918 8471 | Password: 657565)