New Zealand is to get its own en primeur auction, in which producers can offer the best of their current vintages as one tonne lots.

The country’s first One Tonne Fine & Rare Auction, to be held in March in Auckland, emulates the annual Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy, in which lots of the current vintage are auctioned. Prices fetched are reckoned to indicate vintage quality and the general state of the Burgundy market.

At the One Tonne Fine & Rare Auction, depending on individual winemaking practices, lots may extend to 75 cases, or 900 bottles.

An estimated 3000 cases are expected to feature, with top producers like Ata Rangi, Babich, Cloudy Bay, Hunters, Neudorf, Te Mata and Trinity Hill already on the list.

Organisers Peter Webb, of New Zealand auction house Webb’s, and Keith Stewart of wine website sommnet.com, reckon the sale will set the standard for a new way of doing business for New Zealand winemakers.

‘The auction is the first serious attempt to create a mechanism through which a true market value can be established for New Zealand’s best wines, and also provide the world’s wine trade with access to those wines,’ Stewart told decanter.com.

Online bidding opens on 9 February, with the live auction taking place in Auckland on 1 March.

Written by Tracey Barker12 February 2003