The 40th Nederburg Auction was held on 12th and 13th September and is back to it’s old glory attracting buyers from Europe, US and the East with strong competition from locals. Taiwan was the biggest of the foreign buyers. The total take for the two days was just over R7 million. Not quite double 2013 take on a much reduced quantity. A case of 1979 Nederbug Edelkeur (botrytis wine) sold for R6,444 (£358 for 12 375 ml bottles). Hidden Valley Shipwreck Shiraz 2009 achieved the highest ever price for a single bottle of red wine at R7,333 and the highest white was De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blnc 2005 sold for R 1,333 per bottle.

The programme closed with a charity auction conducted by winemaker Ken Forrester which raised R209,000 . This year’s cause was Hope Through Action.

Early in the month it was announced that William Grant and Son had acquired the Drambuie Liqueur Company which owns the Drambuie whisky liqueur brand. The Independent family-owned distiller which owns Glenfiddich and Balvenie whiskies and Hendrik’s Gin amongst others announced their news after many months of speculation. Stella David, the chief executive of William Grant said “We have the passion and a reputation for nurturing and building brands. Drambuie is a natural fit for our portfolio, it has a very rich and a great story to tell and we are delighted to be in a position to start to re-engage with existing drinkers and to connect the brand with an entirely new generation of consumers.”
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Long time friend Alex Corban has died on Sunday 7th September aged 89. His family established one of the first wineries in West Auckland. His grandfather Assid Abraham Corban arrived in New Zealand from the Lebanon in1892. He was a member of the modern pioneering families of New Zealand winemaking. He worked tirelessly to bring the fragmented NZ wine industry together as a political voice. When the family business sold to a major corporation he became the first chairman of the New Zealand Wine Institute which is now New Zealand Winegrowers. I knew him as a very “determined” man and see he has been described as working with “patience and persistence” !!

In 1978 he was awarded an OBE and in 1990 the New Zealand Medal.

Following the rejection of SABMiller for Heineken speculation is rife for an SABMiller merge with AB InBev. If this should happen it could lead to one company owning most of the world’s major beer brands ! According to reports AB InBev are not in “active discussions” with SABMiller. Any such merger would dwarf Japanese drinks group Suntory’s recent acquisition of Beam Inc to create Beam Suntory Inc a deal worth USdollars 16billion.

Diageo, owners of Guinness has opened its new brewery in Dublin. The world’s largest stout brewery cost €169 million. On Friday 19th September Diageo CEO was joined by The Republic of Ireland’s Taoiseach Edna Kenny to officially open the company’s “Brewhouse No 4”, a state-of-the-art brewery located at St James Gate in Dublin. At 10,000 m2 in size it is the world’s largest stout brewery and fourth to be built on the site, first founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759 which covers some 55 acres and produces more than one billion pints per year. (I served part of my apprenticeship there in 1957) The new brewery brings together all it’s Irish brewing operations on one site.
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