Rotary wine auction raises R1m for charity

The closest come before to this amount is 800,000.

Charity wine auctions are an excellent way of raising money and the Rotary Club of Gately holds one of  the country’s top charity auction of the year, and has done so for the past 35 years.

On Friday last week Gately reached a target of R1m.

Rotarian Eugene McNamara heads the wine auction committee. He said that without the ongoing support of the wine estates, the bidders and auctioneer extraordinaire Michael Fridjhon, the event would not be near its full fund raising potential.

Fridjhon is arguably SA’s premier wine boffin, with international experience.

His skillful wielding of the gavel resulted in bids for the 54 lots totalling over R915,000, and with advertising and a top-up from an anonymous donor, the money raised this year hit over R1m.

McNamara said: “Our previous best was R800,000. The vast majority of the funds go to support charities.”

Not only does Fridjhon pay his own way to East London, but each year he supplies a lot, and this year he donated two; a case of the SA Wine Makers Guild’s top wines and a magnum of French Champagne.

Charities that have been supported over the years include: African Angels,  Berea Gardens Retirement Foundation, Buckaroo, CANSA, Carel du Toit Centre, Down Syndrome, Guardians of Hope, Masithethe, NSRI, Robin Good Initiative, Salem Baby Care Centre, St Bernard’s Hospice, Umoya and several others.

In addition the club supports charities in the wine industry, as a payback for the Western Cape’s wine sector’s generosity over the past 30 years or so.

McNamara said Fridjhon was the closest person he had ever met who deserved the title of a “walking wine estate encyclopaedia”.

“Each of the lots gets a description of the wine, why it is of great value and however high the bid, it is a great buy.

HIGHEST BIDDER: Michael Fridjhon International wine boffin and consummate auctioneer PICTURE: SUPPLIED


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