Wine auction sets new record

Neil Barber (pictured) has been buying wine at the auction on behalf of a small syndicate for a number of years. (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

The 27th Annual Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction raised NZD $265,500 for the Cranford Hospice, nearly one-third more than the previous year.

Spirited bidding for 43 mostly wine lots resulted in generally high prices, although there were certainly one or two bargains as well. Top price for a wine-related lot was NZD $12,300 for 300 bottles of Church Road 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot together with lunch for eight hosted by the winemaker.

Spirited bidding for 43 mostly wine lots resulted in generally high prices, although there were certainly one or two bargains as well.

Magnums were particularly popular. Five magnums of Black Barn 2015 Concerta Sangiovese Montepulciano fetched NZD $4,000, or NZD $800 per magnum. Of the 43 lots, 15 were for quarter barriques, equivalent to 72 bottles. The highest price paid for a quarter barrique was NZD $6,250 for Te Awa Tempranillo 2016 – around NZD $87 a bottle.

It cost NZD $50 to attend the auction, but that included the chance to taste all of the wines on offer and chat about them with a winery representative, usually the owner or winemaker.

I talked to Neil Barber, co-owner of Art Deco Masonic Hotel, Platinum sponsor and successful bidder on four lots, including a Vintec wine storage cabinet with 76 bottles of Hawke’s Bay wine; a quarter barrique of Bilancia 2018 Tiratore Chardonnay; ten cases of Ngatarawa 2015 and 2016 Alwyn Chardonnay; and a quarter barrique of Elephant Hill Gimblett Gravels STONE Syrah 2017.

Barber has been buying wine at the auction on behalf of a small syndicate for a number of years. “The biggest problem I have is meeting the varied tastes of our syndicate members,” he said with a grin. He tastes every wine that he plans to buy while admitting that he is also motivated by friendship with winery owners.

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