South African wine producers auction NFTs via fine art auctioneer

Vilafonté Series C sold for over US$30,000. Image courtesy Brilliant Relations

A collection of five of South Africa’s finest and most historic wines have been sold as NFTs, marking a new first for the South African fine wine industry.

The auction – undertaken through fine art auctioneer Strauss & Co – saw prices exceed estimates on several lots, with Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance vertical collection from 1986-2027 reaching R1,251,800 (£63,000 / US$79,000) including commissions.

Meerlust’s 50-year vertical of their famous Rubicon reached R1,081,100 (£54,000 / US$68,000) , while Vilafonté Series C 2003-2027 reached R569,000 (£28,000 / US$36,000), Mullineux Olerasay 1-20 achieved R318,640 (£16,000 / US$20,000) and Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2000-2025 reached R250,360 (£12,500 / US$16,000). The unique digital contracts hold between 20 and 50 vintages, with collections from 66 to 288 bottles.

“This is a big step in securing South Africa’s fine wine heritage! These pristine vintage bottles are now securely on the blockchain for future trading and enjoyment,” commented Strauss & Co Fine Wine specialist Roland Peens after the white-glove sale.

“We believe this new technology is the most powerful way of packaging and trading vintage wines, especially when provenance is so vital.”

The oldest bottles in the 4-decade Vin de Constance collection for instance, have been recorked and the bottles have never moved from their cellars.

The unique lots, which are unlikely to ever be offered again due to the low stockholdings at each producer, are a perfect fit for the NFT infrastructure. Just three bottles of the Meerlust Rubicon 1980 exist in the Meerlust cellars.

Successful bidders now hold the NFTs in a custodial or private wallet which can be viewed on the blockchain, a public peer-to-peer ledger of consensus-based transactions.

While each collection is an NFT, the individual bottles are also ‘minted’ as NFTs and can be drawn or traded at any time on any NFT platform around the world.

Two of the lots were paid with Bitcoin immediately after the sale, as the lots attracted a host of new buyers to Strauss & Co along with successful international bidders.

“It shows that collectors value the ability to own and trade fine wines through these new ownership certificates,” Fanfire Web3 CEO Gert-Jan Van Rooyen said.

“We envision a future where collectors can hold an entire portfolio of wines from across the world in their crypto wallets.”


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