Penfolds Grange 1951 sets new auction record for Australian wine

A single bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951 has sold for more than A$80,000, beating its previous record and confirming its status as the most expensive Australian wine sold at auction, according to Langton's.

An online auction held by Australia-based Langton’s saw the bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951 fetch A$80,386 by the time bidding closed on Sunday (16 December).

That sets a new record for the inaugural Grange vintage and makes it Australia’s most expensive wine sold at auction, Langton’s said.

Penfolds Grange 1951

Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951. Credit: Langton’s.

The same auction house sold a bottle of the 1951 vintage for A$78,000 in June this year, breaking a previous record of A$59,416, set in December 2017.

Only 20 bottles of Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 were believed to still exist, said Langton’s.

The Shiraz wine was created as an experiment by late winemaker Max Schubert, who produced around 2,000 bottles from the 1951 vintage.

This vintage was never commercially released, but many wine lovers would identify it as a seminal moment in Australian wine history.

Langton’s said that its recent online auction also saw a 63-vintage lot of Grange, spanning 1951 to 2013 inclusive, fetch A$349,618.

A half-bottle of Grange 1952, the first vintage released for sale at the time, also fetched A$23,000.

‘Other early Granges are experiencing spectacular price rises as they become increasingly rare,’ Langton’s said. ‘The 1961, for example, more than tripled in value, from $3262 to $10,486.’

To add some context on the 1951, Decanter.com reported in 2001 that a bottle of Grange had sold for US$27,000 (A$37,000 at today’s exchange rate).


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