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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES (article first published : 2005-01-18)

This year’s Nederburg wine auction, the 31st, to be held at Paarl on April 9, will introduce several new features to what has become one of the world’s most prestigious wine events.

The idea is to bring the auction in line with a much-altered South African wine trading environment, and the main changes are a more focused selection of wines (the number of cases being offered is about half that of last year), smaller individual lots and the introduction of an on-line bidding facility. Furthermore, the auction will be held on one instead of two days.

Andre Steyn, corporate affairs director of Distell who organise the auction, says the auction will highlight the Cape’s biodiversity, which is an important advantage for South African winemakers in global markets. The African continent, he points out, is one of the oldest geological land formations in the world, and the Cape’s floral kingdom is the richest on the planet. Complex and varied wine styles reflect these origins.

The intention is to make the auction a more relaxed and intimate event, with greater emphasis on wine and food pairing. The traditional three-course lunch of the closing day is to be replaced with a new format to present the talents of ten of the country’s top chefs.

The fashion show has been a big attraction at past auctions. This year the separate presentation will fall away and fashions will be displayed during the lunch.

Some things will be the same. The event remains by invitation only and bidding will still be restricted to the liquor trade. The wines placed on auction will all be of the highest standard. And Patrick Grubb from England, who has conducted every auction since the first in 1975, will still be at the helm.

**** **** **** ****

Wine publicist Arnold Kirkby tells me that California vintners in the Napa Valley area, which mainly produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic. It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the bathroom during the night.

The new wine will be marketed as Pino More. – Michael Green




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