Strong demand for premium South African wine propelled the 40th Nederburg auction to one of its highest totals, despite lower quantities released for sale.

Bidders at the 2014 Nederburg wine auction. Image credit: Nederburg Auction / Distell

Organisers said this year’s auction fetched 7m South African rand (£393,000), the highest total since sales of 7.47m rand in 2005 and a 60% increase on 2013.

Higher prices offset a 570-litre drop in the amount of wine up for sale this year, to 11,721 litres. All lots were sold.

The result offers more evidence of South Africa improving its reputation as a producer of fine wines. Earlier this year, the country’s winemakers scooped five International Trophies at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

‘South African wine has long been undervalued and this year’s [sale] proved to be a correction of this trend,’ said auction manager Dalene Steyn.

However, the auction results suggested South Africa has more work to do to improve international awareness of its wines.

South Africa-based buyers accounted for 69% of the 2014 sales total, up from 63% last year, and South African hotel group Tsogo sun was the biggest individual buyer, spending almost 724,000 rand.

Bidders from neighbouring Namibia contributed to nearly 11% of the total, up slightly on 2013.

One of the best performing red wines was a single 75cl bottle of Hidden Valley Shipwreck Shiraz 2009, which sold for 7,333 rand. There was also a new record for noble late harvest wines, with six half-bottles of Nederburg Edelkeur 1979 fetching nearly 29,000 rand. Six 75cl bottles of Nederburg South African-made ‘Port’ 1964 sold for 22,000 rand.

The annual Nederburg auction is organised by South African drinks group Distell, although all wineries are eligible to submit wines.

‘The final wines that go on auction are chosen by an expert panel of local and international wine judges who taste blindly with independently audited results,’ said Distell’s managing director, Richard Rushton.

Written by Chris Mercer