A bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951 has gone under the hammer at a Langton’s auction for $142,131, making it the most expensive bottle of Australian wine ever sold.
The previous world record for the highest price ever paid for a bottle of Australian wine was held by a Melbourne buyer, who purchased a Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz 1951 for $103,000 in the Langton’s Rewards of Patience auction in July 2020.
The new record holder is one of the few rare examples in existence of the first vintage of Penfolds Grange ever made. It went under the hammer at the Langton’s Penfolds Rewards of Patience auction, which closed on Sunday night at 7pm (AEST), with the top bid coming from a Sydney-based wine collector.
“This is extraordinary, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a bottle of Australian wine would sell for this much,” said Langton’s Head of Auctions Tamara Grischy (above). “However, this is a unicorn of a wine, and one of the finest bottles we’ve ever seen come through at Langton’s. The buyer is thrilled to have secured this fine piece of Australian wine history for their collection.”
The Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz 1951 is the first vintage ever made of Australia’s most famous wine. Max Schubert (below) only made three or four barrels of it, and he gave away most bottles to his friends.
This specific bottle of Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz 1951 was made even more special as it is signed by Max Schubert, and hand re-corked in August 1988 at Penfolds Magill Estate winery by him.
In total, vintages from 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 went under the hammer for a total of $301,000 in the Langton’s auction.
Most wine lovers collect these rare vintages to complete a set, which includes all bottles from 1951 to the latest release (current vintage 2016).
The record sale coincides with the 70th anniversary of Penfolds Grange. The South Australian heritage icon is one of the world’s most collected wines, and known for its Australian identity, consistency and proven aging potential.
“Incredulously, the 1951 Grange – the first vintage ever created – has sold for a world record price, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Grange in 2021,” said Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago. “This is one to complete a collection.
“After 70 years of unbroken vintage releases Grange continues to surprise and reward. Much to celebrate.”
There are estimated to be around 35 bottles of the first vintage of Penfolds Grange in existence. This includes approximately 15 bottles that are part of complete sets, which include all vintages from 1951 to present day.
Other highlights in the auction include Penfolds Bin 53 Grange Hermitage 1956 that sold for $50,678, Penfolds Bin 9 Grange Cabernet 1953 that sold for $33,204 and a PenfoldsBin 46 Grange Hermitage 1958 that sold for $30,874.
The Penfolds Australia Collection 2021 will be released on Thursday, August 5, led by Grange 2017.
The world’s most expensive Bordeaux wines
Don’t have a spare $140,000 lying around? Last week, Wine-Searcher revealed the Top 10 most expensive Bordeaux wines.
“The big news to be gained from the list is that prices are moving again,” Wine-Searcher noted. “Last time we ran this list, average prices for the top 10 wines has risen by a miserly 0.48 percent across the previous two years. This time round, even the slowest movers have easily outstripped that rate of appreciation. The average rise in average price across the 10 wines above is 8 percent in the past 12 months, a very healthy figure indeed.”
Here are the top 5:
- Liber Pater, Graves ($4331)
- Liber Pater Blanc, Graves ($4291)
- Petrus, Pomerol ($3715)
- Le Pin, Pomerol ($3696)
- Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac ($1006)
* All prices include Buyer’s Premium, which is 16.5% including GST and is paid on top of the hammer price.