The Absa Champagne Festival has been held in Johannesburg since 2002, enthralling invited clients and members of the public alike at the three-night event held at the Inanda Club in Sandton.

This annual prestigious fixture on the social calendar provides an unforgettable experience for Absa’s existing and potential clients. This year’s event in November showcased Absa’s wealth business through lifestyle elements – Champagne and fine food – and included, for the first time, a silent auction of artworks and memorabilia to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, marking the centenary of SA’s late, great statesman, Nelson Mandela.

“The Absa Champagne Festival is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our clients for supporting us in either their personal or business capacities,” says Nomkhita Nqweni, CE of Absa Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance (WIMI), under whose guidance the division’s growth story has gained pace. In three years, assets under management at WIMI surged from R274 billion to R319 billion as at June 2018. That’s 16,4% growth in difficult market conditions. WIMI’s contribution to group headline earnings is now 8%.

“We’ve been able to grow our business because of the clients we have – and this success and investment excellence have been affirmed by the number of prestigious industry accolades we’ve received: the Raging Bull awards for our asset management business, the top rankings in the 2018 Euromoney ratings for our Wealth business and the Batseta Imbasa Yegolide award for the Absa Trust Company,” says Nqweni.

The festival’s grown over the years and now hosts about 350 guests each evening, who sip Champagne from close to 40 French Champagne houses – the most Champagnes available for tasting under one roof and the only exclusive Champagne festival in SA. No local South African Méthode Cap Classiques are present – only French sparkling wines.