In a trailblazing initiative, SA’s foremost auction house, Strauss & Co, has entered into a joint venture with Wine Cellar and top sommelier Higgo Jacobs to launch the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions program.
The aim of the curated sale is simple: to present prospective buyers and collectors with a meticulously sourced catalogue of rare and esteemed South African wines. The auction process offers a transparent, structured and sustainable model for affirming the status of our very finest wines. Each sale will be underpinned by the application of strict criteria with regard to quality, provenance and rarity.
Auction events and tastings
In line with global auction markets and to provide prospective buyers with the best possible access to outstanding wines, Wine Cellar and Strauss & Co will host a series of educational events in the lead up to each wine auction. Known as the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Week, these events are led by industry experts and highlight the many benefits of buying and selling fine wine.
About the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions
Synonymous with top quality art, the introduction of fine wine auctions is a bold new venture on the part of Strauss & Co and will become a key part of their annual auction calendar.
Interest in vintage SA wines is at an all-time high, especially as the country raises its profile in the local and international wine market. International praise of SA wines reached a peak last year with the first modern-day perfect score by Tim Atkin MW for the Paul Sauer 2015. Eben Sadie was voted ‘Winemaker of the Year’ in 2017 by the Institute of Masters of Wine, a London-based professional body with an unsurpassed international reputation. This is an astonishing feat considering previous winners produce the world’s most sought-after wines.
Perfectly stored bottles of practically every top Bordeaux wine from the last few decades are available on the Bordeaux, London and Hong Kong markets, while very few vintage wines are traded in SA. ‘This makes it a highly opportune time to bring our fine wines into the secondary market in a structured and sustainable manner,’ says Frank. Higgo agrees, saying, ‘Strauss & Co entering the fine wine market is a strong vote of confidence in the maturity and potential of the SA wine industry and adds an exciting new dimension to it.’ As leaders in the fine wine market, Wine Cellar will provide professional cellaring, logistics and fine wine experience for the auctions.
Strauss & Co Wine Specialists
Auction Curator and Wine Specialist
Higgo Jacobs’s wine industry experience spans over 20 years, starting with harvests in Stellenbosch in 1998 and 1999 before being interrupted by a law degree from the University of Stellenbosch. He has experience first as winemaker’s assistant, then in wine marketing and sales. In 2007, he relocated to the UK and worked with the highly respected Anthony Byrne Fine Wines & Jeroboams of London and completed his studies with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and Court of Master Sommeliers certification.
Higgo later returned to SA in the role of resident sommelier at the 5-star Steenberg Hotel after which he began consulting to the industry. He is the driving force behind a variety of projects ranging from annual fine wine events and auctions, to sommelier education and competitions. He is a senior judge at the International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine Awards. He is founding member and past chairman of the South African Sommelier Association as well as a member of by-laws committee of the Association de le Sommellerie Internationale – the international regulatory body for the sommelier profession.
Wine Cellar Director and Wine Specialist
Studying economics at the University of Stellenbosch, Roland was surrounded by wine and, once finished with his BComm degree, he found his way into the industry to work in marketing, retail, exports and as a sommelier before joining Wine Cellar in 2005. As one of SA’s foremost wine importers and retailers, Wine Cellar offers the largest allocations of SA’s most sought-after wines. As a cellaring operation, it manages 800 customers and some 300,000 bottles, constituting the largest collection of fine wine in SA. Wine Cellar has also helped develop the secondary market by identifying and brokering local and international vintage wines. In 2018, two wine investment portfolios were launched, adding 20,000 bottles of local fine wine to the future secondary market.
Local and international study, and regular travel, have added to Roland’s extensive insight into the wine world. You’ll find him at most of SA’s top wine events, judging, learning and forever expanding his palate. He’s been a taster for Platter’s Guide, Winemag and the Nederburg Auction, and participated in the world wine tasting championships in Bordeaux in 2013.