South Africa's premium wines are of growing interest to the continent's rising middle class, as the 39th Nederburg auction shows.
A company from Nigeria bought the top lot in this year’s Nederburg wine auction, as premium South African wines attract growing attention among the continent’s emerging middle class.
Nigeria’s Next International paid the highest price at last weekend’s 39th Nederburg auction of rare South African wines, acquiring three bottles of 1973 Zonnebloem Cabernet for a total ZAR22,000.
Next International distributes several foreign food and drink brands in Nigeria, from beer to Heinz baked beans, and also lists Distell’s Amarula Cream as a client brand. Its interest in the Nederburg auction is more evidence of rising interest in premium wine in a country where Champagne is already making strong inroads.
In total, the Nederburg auction raised ZAR4.38m (GBP280,000), down from ZAR4.67m in 2012. Organiser Distell cut back on volumes compared to previous years, but said this was justified after it saw a 91% increase in the price per litre paid by investors.
Sales to Africa-based buyers at the auction rose by almost 5% over last year, with the continent accounting for 28.7% of the total takings.
Ross Sleet, marketing director for Distell’s premium wine brand division, Cape Legends, told decanter.com that this continues a trend for the business. ‘We’re seeing very good traction in Africa,’ he said.
Alongside Nigeria, he highlighted Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as key growth markets. Parts of Ghana and Tanzania are also showing potential, and plans for more hotels in the biggest cities of several countries should bring more opportunities.
But, Sleet cautioned that growth is ‘off a small base’ and that much of Africa remains ‘an extremely difficult place to do business’.
Globally, Distell is keen to push its Cape Legends range in Europe, Asia and the US.
The collection, which includes wines from Nederburg, Fleur du Cap and Zonnebloem, already sells 1m nine-litre cases per year. Sleet said he would like to ‘double that in the next three to four years’, although he added that ‘we’re not chasing volume, we’re chasing value’.
Written by Chris Mercer