The Cape Wine Auction is regarded as one of the most significant international wine charity auctions ever conceived in South Africa, uniting the industry around a single goal of raising money for education. The auction has, in only four years of its existence, created a benchmark in philanthropy, raising almost R55 million – with all proceeds going to 27 carefully selected beneficiaries, all of whom have had a profound impact on education and the lives of children in the Cape winelands.
With the 2018 auction set to kick off on with the American Express Barrel Auction on Friday, February 9, at the Tokara Delicatessen on the Tokara Wine and Olive Estate, followed by the main event, the Cape Wine Auction – sponsored by Nedbank Private Wealth – taking place the following day on Saturday, February 10, at the Rustenberg Estate in Stellenbosch – the anticipation and excitement is palpable. Tickets for this prestigious events were sold out in record time.
The inaugural auction held in 2014 raised R7 million; the following year it ascended to new heights when over R10 million was raised; this rose to R15-million in 2016 and again it broke its own record by raising a staggering R22.3 million last year when it was held at the Anthonij Rupert Wine Estate, sponsored by Nedbank Private Wealth. At that event, a bespoke experience in Napa Valley, California, sold for R3 million – the highest ever paid lot in the history of the auction’s existence.
The idea for the auction was conceived four years ago when Mike Ratcliffe (MD of Warwick and Vilafonté Wine Estates) was inspired by a trip to Auction Napa Valley in the US, a wine auction with the mandate of subsidising health costs.
Back in South Africa he was soon joined by a powerhouse group of trustees, which now include Paul Cluver, Wendy Applebaum, Raymond Ndlovu, Ken Kinsey-Quick and Siobhan Thompson, and the dream of making a real difference soon became a reality. The CWA trustees instituted a new model of distribution for the auction proceeds, with greater collaboration amongst the organisations who receive assistance, to optimise productivity by eliminating duplication and concentrating on key areas of expertise.
“We all know that education can change a child’s life but it has to be holistic. It is not one intervention but a combination that is required. A child who is hungry or traumatised cannot reach his or her potential. We don’t have all the answers, we collaborate to see what works best but we are making a difference.” says Appelbaum.
Adds Ratcliffe: “The Cape Wine Auction is gaining momentum, but it is still a baby and Ì have committed 10 years to getting it to where it needs to be. I don’t believe that we have scratched the surface and I would like to see us raising R100 million in the coming years.
“The Cape Wine Trust has developed such an innovative and transparent methodology with dramatic corporate governance which is now being recognised by charitable trusts, high-net worth individuals and corporate donors. We hope to grow our trust to become a conduit for ‘safe’ donations in the education space.”
Ratcliffe, Appelbaum and the other trustees are pinning their hopes on surpassing last year’s figure with some enviable lots up for offer this year, including:
- An all expenses paid five-day trip to France to watch the Tour de France, plus a R64,000 bicycle.
- A week-long holiday for 12 people at a luxury boutique hotel in Madagascar.
- Life membership at the Opera House, a private members club opening in 2019 in Johannesburg and valued at R350 000.
- A seven-night stay for 12 guests in a Swiss chalet.
- Business class travel to Château Bisquit, Cognac where a unique cask with a rare blend of Cognac will be hand tapped by the winner followed by a gala dinner.
- “Facets II – Youth”, a significant work of over two metres in height from internationally renowned South African sculptor Anton Smit as well as a rare collection of 12 hand-signed bottles of Idiom 900 Series Wines, a hand-blown bottle of Idiom’s iconic wine-inspired haute perfume and a sensory six course degustation lunch prepared by Chef Zané Pelser for six guests.
- Seven nights accommodation for two couples in a luxury apartment in Paris, followed by seven nights accommodation for seven couples in St Tropez.
- Five nights and six days in a private villa in the old city of Cannes on the French Riviera and dinner at Maria, private dining room of Michelin-star SA chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s Nice-based restaurant Jan.
- A sumptuous three-night stay at Morukuru Beach Lodge (opening July 2018) inclusive of all meals, vintage wines and guided activities .
- Business class tickets to London for the BFI London Film Festival and courtside seats at the Men’s and Ladies’ US Open Tennis quarter finals in New York.