Retailer sells Penfolds Grange set for $400,000

An entrepreneur and wine collector has just purchased a set of Penfolds Grange from Dan Murphy’s in Melbourne for $400,000 – the most ever paid for a Penfolds set purchased through a retail store. 

The purchase follows a new report that found fine wine produced better returns than traditional investments such as gold or shares in 2021.

In September 2021, fine wine topped the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index. In December, the global marketplace for the wine trade, Liv-ex, released its annual wine market review, finding that wine performed better than many traditional investments.

The Liv-ex 100 – which tracks the price of 100 of the most sought-after fine wines on the secondary market – grew nearly 21% in 2021. Comparatively, the Dow Jones Industrial Average only gained 14.43% over the same period, while gold declined nearly 4%. 

The Dan Murphy’s Fine Wine team assembles a Penfolds Grange set by sourcing and quality assessing individual bottles of Grange from each year of production. This set includes every vintage release of Penfolds Grange since its first in 1951, including several bottles signed by Penfolds current Chief Winemaker Peter Gago. 

“The customer purchased the collection as an investment so he won’t be drinking the wines,” said Dan Murphy’s Managing Director Alex Freudmann (pictured main). “However, Penfolds Grange sets are becoming rarer while their value keeps increasing, so he will be able to enjoy his purchase in other ways.

“This particular set is in excellent condition, and the Penfolds Grange 1951 – which was the first vintage ever made of Australia’s most iconic wine – has been assessed at the re-corking clinic.”

The last time Dan Murphy’s sold a Penfolds set was in 2018 for $320,000, which means the price for sets has increased by 25% for the drinks retailer.

Dan Murphy’s has seen demand for Penfolds Grange increase significantly in the last two years.

“Due to lockdowns and record-low interest rates, many customers have had more savings in their bank than ever,” Freudmann said. 

“Many have chosen to go up the shelf and treat themselves to a bottle of Australia’s most iconic wine from the comfort of their home which is one reason why demand has soared, while some took their love of fine wine to the next level and started exploring Penfolds Grange as an investment.”

Penfolds Grange is one of the most coveted brands on the secondary wine market. Fine wine auction house Langton’s – which is owned by Dan Murphy’s parent company Endeavour Group – sold a bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951 in December 2021 for a world record price of over $157,000*.  In July 2021, a bottle of the same vintage went under the hammer for $142,000* – a price increase of 10% in just six months. 

“It is believed there are only a few dozen of the 1951 Penfolds Grange bottles in circulation, and this vintage is particularly coveted among collectors to complete a set,” Freudmann said. 

The first vintage of Penfolds Grange started as an experiment by Max Schubert. When he first showed the wine to his supervisors, it wasn’t as well received as he had hoped disliked and he was told to stop the project. Determined to reach his vision, Schubert continued to make the wine in secret and stashed the bottles in the deepest parts of the Penfolds cellars.

In 1960, the Penfolds board ordered Grange back into production, and the rest is Australian wine history. 

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