Fine wine auctions in SA have had something of a chequered existence. The first modern sale was conducted at Fairview in the early 1970s, followed by Nederburg, the great-granddaddy of them all, which was launched in 1975.

In the early 1980s, an amendment to the Liquor Act enabled Sotheby’s to trade privately owned collectible wines. A year or two later the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild introduced an annual sale of the special bottlings produced by its members. Suddenly it seemed the wine auction business was booming...

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