Top dollar for three decades' worth of New Zealand's premier red wine
The single most complete collection of Coleraine wine, dating back to its inception more than 30 years ago, has been auctioned off in Auckland for well over its valuation.
The highest bidder was Air New Zealand, which nabbed the 'vertical' (one bottle from every year it was made) for $4800 at Webb's Auction house on Tuesday evening.
Webb's fine wine expert Reece Warren said Air New Zealand planned to use the collection for promotional purposes as part of its Great Wines of New Zealand programme.
Coincidently, Air New Zealand claims it's the largest single server of New Zealand wines, serving approximately 6.5 million glasses in-flight each year.
"We're very pleased to get a very good price for one of New Zealands iconic wines," Warren said.
The collection, spanning from 1982 to 2014, was one of the most impressive items up for grabs at the auction due to its uniqueness.
The vertical featured 30 vintages of the cabernet sauvignon blend, barring the years 1992, 1993 and 2012 when it wasn't produced.
A conservative estimate put the auction value at $2400 - $3400.
Nick Buck, Chief Executive of the Te Mata Estate Winery said it was a fantastic result for the vendor and buyer alike.
"I think for them [Air NZ] and what they want to do with it, it's a fantastic bargain, it's one of those win-win situations.
"They've bought an amazing piece of history. They can put on a fantastic event with the wine, which is what I understand their intentions are," Buck said.
Te Mata Estate's Coleraine is hailed by many as the premier red this country produces.
Its 2013 vintage retailed at $100 a bottle and sold out in just 10 days.
Wine expert Vic William said the rarity of the collection was significant and "it's an extraordinarily nice wine".
"The Te Mata Coleraine was the first big New Zealand red wine to make people sit up and take notice," he said.
Upon its first releases it was hailed as remarkably Bordeaux-like and collected rave reviews.
Williams said the older bottles would need to be decanted because of sediment, but Warren believes it will pass even the toughest taste test.
"It's been kept in perfect conditions. They are old wines, and the taste will reflect their age but I would expect the wine to be in great drinking order."
Even the oldest, the 1982, will still be "a fine drop", though Warren cautioned he would not wait another 20 years to crack it open.
Webb's would not divulge any information on the seller for privacy reasons - other than to confirm he was a private collector.