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Penfolds outrages merchants with ‘slap in the face’ price hikes

Wine merchants are turning their backs on Penfolds' Bin wines - whose annual release is today - following price increases that have been labelled a 'slap in the face'.

Penfolds Bins: ‘penalising customers’

Jeff Poole, managing director of New Zealand’s Fine Wine Delivery Company, and a former employee of Penfolds, who said he has ‘championed’ its wines for more than 15 years, has criticised the brand this year after cost price increases of ‘up to 50%’.

Poole said, ‘While is it the prerogative of any business to capitalise on increasing international demand and supply, we view this massive increase as a slap in the face’.

A number of UK merchants, who did not want to be named, also revealed that they would not be taking their allocation this year due to the price rises.

The wines are released today with recommended retail price increases of around 20% to AU$37.99 for the Bin 138 Grenache Syrah Mourvedre blend and AU$64.99 for the Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.

Bin 389 – dubbed ‘the poor man’s Grange’ – has risen more than 15% to AU$74.99.

‘To make the same margins on the wines that we did last year, we are going to have to increase our prices by $15,’ Poole said.

‘They have completely altered the proposition and are penalising loyal customers with the increases. As a result they are going to see some burning of the brand.’

Penfolds refused several requests for an interview with Decanter.com but issued a statement claiming that rising prices were a result of increased global demand.

‘Penfolds enjoys an ever growing demand for our wines across an increasing number of international markets. As a fine wine brand we are very limited in the amount of wine we can make each vintage and as a result the increasing demand we are seeing is causing prices to increase.’

Written by Rebecca Gibb

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