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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Kim Maxwell

Ninety per cent of supermarket wines sell for under 5, and the average consumer spends 40 seconds selecting wine, said Sainsbury's consultant Allan Cheesman, in his address to Nederburg's 29th Auction on 12 April. Cheesman urged South Africans to link the mainstream and premium sectors, and to strengthen premium wine sales. With that aim in mind, Nederburg launched revamped packaging on the eve of the auction, and tweaked the international event's image by aligning it firmly with lifestyle and design. South African fashion, homeware and cuisine leaders were showcased in lifestyle magazine tents attracting 1,600 visitors, and over R7.5 million of wines were auctioned. We're trying to seek contemporary relevance, but never at the expense of the brand's history and heritage,' said Distell's global wines marketeer, Peter Hafner. Speaking of new architecture', he outlined linked brands incorporating a new gold diagonal ribbon (former classic range, 5.49-5.99) and a red diagonal ribbon (former reserve range, 8.99 upwards). Packaging on Private Bin wines, available only from the auction, has red diagonal ribbons plus medals. Quality upgrades at the Nederburg winery include a R70 million cellar expansion by 2005. South African wholesalers dominated top auction places, with Makro buying the largest share at R702,000 (57,057). The highest red bid was for 1968 Lanzerac Pinotage (six 750ml bottles) at R7,000 (570). 1986 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (six 500ml bottles) was the top-selling dessert wine, fetching R6,600, while 1948 Monis Collector's Port Stamp Collection (six 750ml bottles) took R7,400 in Port-style fortifieds. Top white was 2001 Iona Sauvignon Blanc (six by 750ml) at R1,250.