To Invest in South African Wines, or not (yet)?
A star lot will be a half bottle (375ml) of Grand Constance 1821 from Groot Constantia, with a reserve price of R100,000 (£5000) – a wine described by South African critic Michael Fridjhon as “Extraordinarily perfumed… a haunting reminder of an era lost in the mists of antiquity.” - Club Oenologique Article
It's a question I've asked myself over the past couple of years, especially when seeing each new vintage of our top labels being released. Are South Africa's top labels investment grade yet?
Let's take Kanonkop's Paul Sauer 2015 which, if I remember correctly, was swept off wine shelves upon release in 2019 at roughly R650 per bottle. Not long after was it not only no longer available on shelves, but the price shot to over R1000 per bottle purely based on demand after ol'Tim Atkin penned in a score of 100/100 for this vintage. Don't get me wrong, it's a damn fine wine, and will only do well with time in the cellar ... if you're lucky to have grabbed a few bottles (unlike me!).
Yesterday I happened upon an article shared by Mike Ratcliffe (Vilafonté Wines) while scrolling through Linkedin, luringly titled Have South African Wines Reached Collectable Status?. It was quickly saved for my early morning reading, and didn't disappoint.
In summary, upon finishing the article, then scrolling back a few times to re-read a couple of sections to fully understand the gist of Adam Lechmere's message, I am sitting here now writing this blog post feeling a lot more excited about our South African wine industry than I have in a while (not for any other reason than it has piqued my interest in a topic of wine I love to discuss!).
Are South African wines really becoming that good that we should start expecting MORE of them on potential lists of wines to invest in? My personal opinion is ... hell yes, I would say we're coming close to hitting that sweet spot of achieving a hierarchy in quality equivalent to what our international peers are producing within the niche, super premium world of wine. We have some fantastic wines being produced from our winelands, and the quality is indeed reaching newer heights with each and every vintage released. With such focus on quality based on consistancy the odds are for our beloved winemakers in that we should be seeing more of them and their labels achieving top class status! Life just works that way.
Without rambling on too long, I wanted to share this article with you because (in my honest opinion) this should be a proud moment for us as an industry, that we're entering a new era of wine supremecy; investment grade status. Time will only tell as we see more local labels reaching investors cellars around the world, but as with any good wine, the wait is part of the fun. For us mere mortals; this bodes well for what we find on shelf in our local retail stores, and more specifically your local boutique wine store which has taken the time to stock a uniquely palatable selection of wines for enthusiasts such as you and I.
In my opinion, yes ... South African wines are becoming options for investment, as highlighted in the article. With that in mind, and although we're only entering the investment-grade market, we have plenty to look forward to with vintages to come.
Go read the original article here, written by Adam Lechmere and published on ClubOenologique.com. Feel free to leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.