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‘No glass ceiling’ for Australian wines, says Langton’s

Australian auction house Langton's has said it expects to see rising prices for back vintages of the country's top wines, following the launch of its sixth Classification of wineries.

Some market observers have suggested that New World wines face an upper price limit, mainly because they have not engendered the same notoriety among consumers and collectors.

However, Tamara Grischy, head of Langton’s fine wine auctions and exchange, disagreed with this sentiment following the launch of the group’s new Classification of top Australian wines.

‘There’s no glass ceiling,’ she told Decanter.com. ‘Price growth is the result of a number of factors: release price; scarcity; demand; vintage and condition; quality and overall market sentiment.

‘Prices for back vintages of the Exceptional category [of Langton’s Classification] are growing and will continue to grow as these wines become less available in our market.’

She highlighted the 1971 vintage of Australia’s premier fine wine, Penfolds Grange. ‘It regularly achieved around A$700 per bottle in 2012 and is now achieving around A$1,000 for bottles in great condition.’

However, Langton’s said that most of its buyers for top Australian wines are domestic, which indicates that the sector needs to work harder to attract more international fine wine buyers.

Penfolds’ chief winemaker, Peter Gago, was in London last week to launch Grange Bin 170 Kalmina Shiraz 2010, which is on sale for £33,000 for a six-litre Imperial bottle.

Although Gago said that Australian wine is ‘right up there’ on the world fine wine scene, he conceded that producers must ‘worker harder’ than top estates in the Old World, and particularly Bordeaux.

The new Langton’s Classification, the sixth version of the auction house’s ranking system for Australian wineries, contains a record 139 wines. There were 123 wines in the previous Classification, released in 2010.

This includes four new entries in the ‘Exeptional’ category. These are: Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz, from Eden Valley in South Australia; Jim Barry’s The Armagh Shiraz, form Clare Valley in South Australia; Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, from Coonawarra in South Australia; and Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny, from Barossa Valley, which has gone straight into the ranking system at its highest echelon.
Beneath the ‘exceptional’ tier, Langton’s has split the remaining wines into ‘outstanding’ and ‘excellent’.

Written by Chris Mercer

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