An imperial of Penfolds Grange has achieved the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of Australian wine at auction.

The very first offering of the coveted 1998 vintage achieved double the auctioneer’s estimate at Langton’s Shiraz Australia II online wine auction on 20 January 2003, going for a record AUS $54,480 (€30,177). No other Australian bottle of any size has sold for more.

‘This is a much anticipated Grange vintage and will not be on general release until the middle of the year,’ said Stewart Langton, managing director of Langton’s. ‘The vintage was outstanding all over Australia, the best of the decade, and Penfolds Grange received a 99+ Parker rating.’

But despite his or her headstart, the buyer of the 6-litre imperial (equivalent to eight regular bottles) may still have to wait several years before cracking it open. ‘The 1998 Grange in any size is a 10 to 15-year proposition, but in this format it could go on for 20, 30, even 50 years,’ Langton said.

The largest bottle of Grange in existence, a 12-litre Balthazar of the 1997 vintage, raised over AUS$50 (€27,695) in aid of the Cancer Council of Australia at the same auction.

Written by Josie Butchart20 January 2003