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Complete sets of Grange up for auction

Two rare complete sets of Penfolds Grange, each worth around AUS$150,000, are currently on the market with another set to be auctioned in August.

Only about 20 sets of the renowned Australian ultra-premium label are believed to exist, although estimates range from six to more than 40.

‘I’d be surprised if there are more than 20,’ said Penfolds chief winemaker, Peter Gago.

Only three hogsheads – about 1,200 bottles – of the initial 1951 Grange were made.

Gago said that losses during racking and bottling, and gift bottles to promote the wine, would have substantially reduced the number remaining – and many would have been drunk because Grange was not regarded as a collector’s item until the late 1980s.

A set minus only the current release, the 2003 vintage, is currently being auctioned online by Mark Wickman of Adelaide-based Wickman Fine Wine Auctions.

Wickman said the set was well presented but not to the same standard as another set being sold privately and for which he was fielding enquiries.

He expected it to raise well in excess of the initial estimate of AUS$150,000 for the first lot.

A third set is also to be auctioned online from in August by Melbourne-based auction house Langton’s.

‘It’s of impeccable provenance,’ said Langton’s Tamara Grichy. Langton’s currently holds the two main Grange records – AUS$176,000 for a set sold in 1998 and AUS$54,000 for a single bottle of the ’51 vintage, set in 2001.

Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide

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