Leading African fine art auction house Strauss & Co is making a highly rare offering to global wine collectors with a specialist online auction that is taking place between 3rd and 10th July in collaboration with WineCellar.co.za and sommelier Higgo Jacobs.
The auction house has been developing the secondary market for fine wines in South Africa since 2019, with this particular auction being the highest valued ever staged in Africa with Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions unveiling six significant collections of the world’s greatest wines, that have also been minted as NFTs. The lots include Penfolds Grange, Domaine de La Romanée Conti, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château d’Yquem, Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estate.
The wine comes from the Coats Family Cellar, with superb provenance and meticulous authentication, and contains an expansive range of the world’s finest and most sought-after wines spanning over 150 years that have been collected over many decades.
Roland Peens, Strauss & Co Fine Wine Specialist, comments:
“Mr Coats had a clear passion for Penfolds Grange and Mouton-Rothschild, but there are few great wines from the 20th century that weren’t in the cellar. The d’Yquem lot is also expansive and very special!”
Leading international fine wine expert, Michael Egan, has scrutinised and authenticated every bottle, with over 100 bottles having been tasted, and Peens adding:
“Considering the size and depth of these impressive, unique collections, and the critical need for authenticity, we saw the advantage of minting each wine as an NFT, we authenticated and photographed each bottle with the information now stored on the blockchain. This is a chance to buy a super rare collection or invest in an alternative asset. Fine wine has proven to be an uncorrelated long-term asset with low volatility and the NFTs adds further security.”
A portion of the NFT sale will go to SASA, the South African Sommelier Association, which is a registered NPO promoting a culture of food and beverage service excellence in South Africa through education.
Zimbabwean wine celebrity, sommelier and Kumusha producer, Tinashe Nyamudoka, says:
“Drinking and experiencing these wines is the only way to feel a sense of place. I’m excited because the African wine palate is maturing, and we see more and more fine wine being consumed and more sommeliers. However, access and education are still limited.”
The Penfolds Grange lot is a grandeur selection of the first 58 years of Penfolds and includes the maiden 1951 vintage. The New World’s most famous wine was produced by Max Schubert, and the collection includes a signed 375ml bottle of the 1952. There are 232 bottles, including 42 Magnums.
With the legendary 1945, the first vintage in the NFT, Château Mouton-Rothschild famously added artwork to their labels to commemorate the allied victory, commissioning unknown artist Phillippe Julian. The 1945 turned out to be a legendary wine and the artist labels have become a huge draw for collectors. This particular 176 bottle collection includes a group of large format bottles, including 33 double-magnums and a number of the great vintages of 1982, 1986 and 2000.
Château d’Yquem, which is arguably the world’s greatest sweet wine, is showcased over 119 years, and this sale includes four bottles from the 19th century. The House of Yquem is famous for its long ageing with the wine turning progressively darker with age as well as gaining complexity. Great vintages such 2001, 1976, 1967, 1947, 1945, 1928 and 1899 are included in the auction.
Domaine de La Romanée Conti is minted into an NFT with 80 bottles from 1999 to 2015. This prolific period for Burgundy includes a mix of red wines from their various vineyards that includes 17 bottles of La Tâche and two bottles each of the 2009 and 2010 La Romanée Conti.
And lastly, two American cult wine collections are offered as NFTs in the form of Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estate. Both Cabernet Sauvignons are produced in small quantities with long waiting lists to receive an allocation, with Screaming Eagle being America’s most expensive and exclusive wine with prices that match Château Petrus. The Harlan Estate NFT features a bottle and magnum of their first commercial 1990 vintage along with 100 pointer vintages in 1997, 2002 and 2007.
For more information on the wines, registration and bidding, which is now open, please visit: www.straussart.co.za/auctions.
Simon Burrell is Editor of OMOTG Travel & Lifestyle, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Strauss & Co