Dave Powell, an independent Australian winemaker, will become the first vintner in the world to offer an entire vintage by NFT (non-fungible token), when his 2021 Neldner Road single-vineyard wines go under the hammer on OpenSea this month.
Powell is the founder of Torbreck Vintners, and more recently, Powell & Son. His new label, Neldner Road, continues to source grapes from the legendary vineyards that are at the heart of his life’s work in the Barossa Valley.
He named the wine Neldner Road in honour of the Kraehe Vineyard, which is located there, along with many of the other vineyards Powell works with.
“These vineyards are some of the oldest in the world, older than France’s famous Bordeaux vineyards,” said Powell.
“Over the last 100-plus growing seasons they have developed their own rich, complex characters, which are reflected in each of the Neldner Road wines.
“It’s taken me four decades of work here in the Barossa to find these vineyards and rejuvenate and maintain them, and ultimately create these wines. They are the best of my career.”
Powell was drawn to the idea of NFTs because they reminded him of how Bordeaux wines are sold through the en primeur system.
In this centuries-old system, buyers are able to purchase wine while still in barrel, prior to bottling. Allocations are locked in and provenance is guaranteed, all usually at a lower price than the wine will bring when officially released.
“Selling by NFT is also about bringing my wines to a new audience, who may not already be in the fine wine market,” said Powell.
“Like NFT artwork, our wine is rare – we make just 100 barrels each vintage. It’s unique – every vintage and bottling is different. Wine is the original collectible – personal wine collections have been dated back nearly 4,000 years.”
Like Powell’s previous work at Torbreck and Powell & Son, Neldner Road comprises single vineyard bottlings made from some of the finest sites in the Barossa and Eden valleys, including Steinert, Brennecke, Kleinig, Loechal, and Hermann, along with Kraehe.
Reviews of the most recent vintages of Powell & Son have been stellar, with the wines being scored in the mid to high 90s by the world’s major critics.
A total of 101 Neldner Road NFTs will be auctioned on OpenSea, a website marketplace for NFTs and crypto-collectibles.
In addition to the wine, each NFT in the auction will include:
For a detailed list of the Neldner Road OpenSea lots, please see: https://opensea.io/NeldnerRoad
The timing of the offering of these Neldner Road wine NFTs is significant because 2021 has been singled out by many Barossa winemakers as the best vintage for Australian wine in living memory.
“I’ve worked for more than 40 years to put myself in the right place at the right time, and it feels to me that this moment has arrived,” said Powell.
“The fruit is simply the best I’ve ever worked with and the wines are the best I’ve ever made. Making compelling, world-class wine requires the balancing of hard-earned craftsmanship with an elemental sensibility and appreciation of the art of winemaking.
“Everything has come together with this vintage and it’s only appropriate that we’re offering the wines through NFTs. the NFT represents the nexus of art and commerce, and I’m excited that Neldner Road will be a pioneer in this new realm.”
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