Africa’s first Strauss & Co fine wine NFT auction with SA’s leading producers achieves R3.47 million in sales
Strauss & Co envisage a future where collectors can hold an entire portfolio of wines from across the world in their crypto wallets
The last hour of the Strauss & Co Icon South African Wine NFT on-line auction saw frenetic bidding as collections of five of South Africa’s finest wines were sold as non-fungible tokens for the first time. Prices exceeded estimates on several lots with Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance vertical collection from 1986-2027 reaching R1,251,800 including commissions.
Meerlust’s 50-year vertical of their famous Rubicon reached R1,081,100, while Vilafonté Series C 2003-2027 reached R569,000, Mullineux Olerasay 1-20 achieved R318,640 and Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2000-2025 reached R250,360. The unique digital contracts hold between 20 and 50 vintages, with collections from 66 to 288 bottles.
“This is a big step in securing South Africa’s fine wine heritage! These pristine vintage bottles are now securely on the blockchain for future trading and enjoyment,” commented Strauss & Co Fine Wine specialist Roland Peens after the white-glove sale. “We believe this new technology is the most powerful way of packaging and trading vintage wines, especially when provenance is so vital.” The oldest bottles in the 4-decade Vin de Constance collection for instance, have been recorked and the bottles have never moved from their cellars.
The unique lots, which are unlikely to ever be offered again due to the low stockholdings at each producer, are a perfect fit for the NFT infrastructure. Just three bottles of the Meerlust Rubicon 1980 exist in the Meerlust cellars.
Successful bidders now hold the NFTs in a custodial or private wallet which can be viewed on the blockchain, a public peer-to-peer ledger of consensus-based transactions. While each collection is an NFT, the individual bottles are also ‘minted’ as NFTs and can be drawn or traded at any time on any NFT platform around the world.
Two of the lots were paid with Bitcoin immediately after the sale, as the lots attracted a host of new buyers to Strauss & Co along with successful international bidders. “It shows that collectors value the ability to own and trade fine wines through these new ownership certificates. We envision a future where collectors can hold an entire portfolio of wines from across the world in their crypto wallets.” Further commented NFT project partner and Fanfire Web3 CEO Gert-Jan Van Rooyen.
R93,800 was simultaneously raised for charities critical to the wine industry; Sp(i)eel is a ground-breaking NPO that uses arts in wineland communities to address inequality and intergenerational trauma and to assist in the development of psychosocial well-being, Pebbles Project sets to enrich the lives of disadvantaged children and families in the agricultural communities of the Western Cape, while the Cape Winemakers Guild Protege program internships cultivate the next generation of award-winning winemakers and viticulturists through mentorship.
Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions is a joint venture between principal auction house, Strauss & Co, leading wine merchant WineCellar.co.za and sommelier Higgo Jacobs. Since 2019, the platform has set to develop the secondary market for fine wines in South Africa and beyond.
Klein Constantia, Vice Chairman and Shareholder Hans Astrom
“We’re excited about this auction. It’s the first time in modern times , we ever put a complete lot of Vin De Constance up for sale with the 40 vintages spanning over 5 decades. The wines have all been cellared at Klein Constantia, which guarantees provenance and authenticity. It is truly a unique and rare opportunity to acquire one of the world’s most collectible wines.
The wine’s provenance is from our cellars and stocks and have never been outside. The older vintages will be verified before being shipped and in case of re-corking needed, we will make sure that every bottle shipped is at 100% and just as it was when released.
This auction is a great opportunity for interested wine amateurs or collectors from all around the world to acquire some of South Africa’s great and rare wines that normally are not seen in the market. Fine wines are appreciated all around the world and the best of South African wines deserve to be on this platform as well.”
Kanonkop, Sales and Marketing Deidre Taylor
“On auction will be Kanonkop Paul Sauer – a collection of each vintage produced of this century. A retrospective and future vertical of every vintage from 2000 through to 2025.
The Strauss & Co fine wine NFT auction provides an opportunity to be part of a first for South Africa. This auction increases the reach of consumers able to access the fine wines from South Africa, which is often only accessible to local buyers.”
Vilafonté, Co-founder and Managing Partner Mike Ratcliffe
“As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, it is appropriate to offer the only 25 year vertical collection of Vilafonté Series C ever assembled. It is exciting and humbling and will never be repeated. This quarter century time capsule of Vilafonté Series C is truly an extraordinary and timeless NFT.
Series C has never left the winery, has never been exposed to sunlight and has been perfectly matured. Future vintages will get similar love and care. Provenance and quality is assured. By playing a part in this first of its kind NFT auction, we are very pleased to be making a modest contribution towards the ongoing evolution of the South African fine wine scene.”
Meerlust, Cellar Master Wim Truter
“The Meerlust lot on auction at the Strauss & Co NFT fine wine auction covers 50 vintages of Rubicon from the very first release in 1980 to the 2034 which will only be released in 2037. It therefore covers historic vintages plus future vintages not yet released. A rare, complete collection of Rubicon vintages.
All the wines have been catalogued by their seal code numbers and photographed by Strauss & Co Fine Wine. This information is also captured on the NFT. The wines will be stored at Meerlust in our vinoteque under climate control conditions until the new owner decides otherwise.
Every bottle has been stored under ideal conditions on the Meerlust Estate, including visually inspected for the integrity of the closure and ullage. This will be the first NFT auction of South African fine wine and we are sure that this will set a new standard for the way in which auctions of rare South African wines will happen in the future.”
Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions is a joint venture between leading fine wine merchant WineCellar.co.za, sommelier Higgo Jacobs and principal auction house, Strauss & Co.
BID ON THE AUCTION
Viewing of lots opens 11-18 April, with bids open from 18 – 25 April
View lots & bid online: https://www.straussart.co.za/
PARTICIPATE IN THE WEBINAR
NFT x FINE WINE
Africa’s first NFT fine wine action by Strauss & Co with SA’s leading fine wine producers
13 April 3pm