By Andrew Spence
A 64-bottle collection of Australia’s most famous wine, Penfolds Grange, is expected to fetch a record $AU350,000 when it is auctioned online this week.
The set of Penfolds Grange from 1951 to 2014 is expected to break the record for a Penfolds Grange set (1951 to 2013) that sold for $349,500 at a Langton’s auction in June 2018.
The record price includes tax and a buyer’s premium of 16.5 per cent on top of the hammer price.
The luxury set of Grange is among more than 1800 bottles being sold this week as part of wine auction house Langton’s Rewards of Patience Auction, the world’s largest auction devoted exclusively to Penfolds.
Penfolds has produced Grange every year since winemaker Max Schubert’s first vintage in 1951 with the current 2015 vintage retailing for about $AU800 a bottle.
Other Penfolds wines of note in the auction are a 1963 St Henri, 1965 Penfolds Bin 389, 1971 Penfolds Bin 389 and two single bottles of 1951 Penfolds Grange, which are expected to sell for more than $70,000 each.
“It’s very rare to see one bottle, let alone two, of the first Grange, which was a wine that Penfolds first Chief Winemaker Max Schubert made 68 years ago as an experiment. Both bottles are in amazing condition, and have outstanding provenance,” Head of Auctions at Langton’s Tamara Grischy said.
“This is a historic vintage, and represents the beginning of modern Australian wine. It is believed there are less than 20 bottles in circulation.”
The full set of Grange up for auction was previously owned by a long-time South Australian collector.
Grischy said there had been significant international interest, particularly from Hong Kong, China and the UK.
“In 1995, I remember selling a set for $30,000,” she said.
“As the Penfolds brand has continued to evolve and become one of the biggest wine brands in the world, the demand keeps increasing.”
Penfolds is best known for iconic South Australian Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon largely from the Barossa Valley such as Grange, Bin 389 and Bin 707.
The winery was founded in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs in 1844 by English physician Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary after they emigrated to South Australia.
Penfolds is now part of the Treasury Wine Estate (TWE) group, which also includes brands such as Wolf Blass, Wynns and Beaulieu Vineyards.
South Australia is consistently responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production and 80 per cent of its premium wine. There are more than 200 cellar doors within an hour’s drive of the city centre of Adelaide in regions including Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.
Langton’s holds two exclusive Penfolds auctions a year, usually in June and December.
Grischy said although many bidders were collectors, the auction was a good way for novices or great value wine seekers to get their hands on Australia’s most sought-after wine brand.
“There’s always a mad rush of bidding in the last 30 minutes, so if you’re after a specific wine, make sure you’re alert on Sunday evening,” she said.
The auction, which is in its 23rd year, will start Tuesday, December 10 at 5pm Melbourne time, and will close Sunday, December 15 at 7pm.
This article originally appeared at The Lead SA.
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