Over 5,000 lots were offered by Langton’s during April. A very diverse offering
of Australian and imported wines, especially Bordeaux and Burgundy, attracted strong
buyer interest. The launch of Langton’s Wine Exchange in May and continued strong
sales in June has made for a buoyant second quarter 2004 at Langton’s.
In April the overall market remained firm with good clearance rates despite the
nervous global environment and the falling Australian Dollar. Grange prices were
an important market indicator. Values from 1960s vintages remained high – if not
on the speculative side. Important vintages such as 1986 and 1990 continued to find
The 1998 vintage – previously attracting AUD$500-600 a bottle – is declining in
value because of aggressive primary market offers. It is predicted prices will finally
settle around AUD$450-500 for the medium term. Notwithstanding this market correction
the overall Grange market remained quite buoyant. Commission rates have become extremely
competitive resulting in an Indian Summer for Grange sellers.
The cult wine scene – typified by Torbreck Run Rig Shiraz, Greenock Creek Roennfeldt
Road Shiraz, Shirvington Shiraz and Three Rivers (Chris Ringland) – is enjoying
renewed vigour, but inevitably sellers and buyers are fickle and uncompromising.
High expectations are a feature of this market. As a result clearance rates are
moderate and prices are high. This is an important auction market niche, but is
underpinned by artificial sentiment. The highly individual and beautifully defined
Mount Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz – a star performer of the mid 1990s and featured
on the front page of Wine Spectator with Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace
– struggles to achieve values of over AUD$45, illustrating a skewed but extremely
The 1998 Australian vintage is still commanding higher prices than any other vintage
in the last decade. In some cases the prices achieved are double other vintages.
For example 1998 Mount Mary Cabernet fetches AUD$190 and the 1997 Mount Mary AUD$92,
1998 Penfolds 389 AUD$42, and the 1999 Penfolds 389 AUD$21. Curiously the market
has yet to wake up to the highly successful 1999 Barossa vintage.
Volume of bidding continues to increase as more buyers use Langton’s internet auction
system at www.langtons.com.au. During the last hour of both Melbourne and Sydney
auctions during April the volume of bidding peaked at all time highs. Over the last
two months alone Langton’s has seen a 15% increase in memberships.
Langton’s auction market is enjoying sound market conditions with strengthening
level of supply and strong demand. Clearance rates are at a steady 82% reflecting
the strength of internet wine sales and a healthy balance of buyers and sellers.
The top 10 lots sold in April including (including Buyer’s Premium and in AUD$)
1. 2002 Shirvington Shiraz McLaren Vale – $172
2. 1994 St.Hallet Old Block Shiraz Barossa Valley – $64
3. 2001 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier Canberra – $74
4. 1998 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz Hunter Valley – $116
5. 1996 Wendouree Shiraz Clare Valley – $127
6. 1982 Chateau Lynch Bages – $232
7. 1990 Le Pin – $2531
8. 1986 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz – $98
9. 1983 Penfolds Grange – $382
10. 1990 Henschke Hill of Grace – $535
Langton’s held three auctions in May. The auction market is confident, with a growing
number of participants despite the slowdown of the housing market and a drop in
overall consumer spending. The Grange and Hill of Grace market is well covered by
buyers. Provenance remains a key issue, illustrated by top prices for great vintages
and bargain prices for wines with cataloguing caveats (levels, cellar damaged labels
Langton’s Classified wines are performing well with a resurgence in consumer sentiment
for top Coonawarra and Margaret River Cabernets. Shiraz dominates the proceedings
with a seemingly bottomless number of bidders. Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, Peter
Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz, Hardy’s EileenHardy Shiraz, Barossa Valley Estates E&E
Black Pepper Shiraz, Yalumba Octavius and Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz are experiencing
hefty leaps in value.
Best’s, Leasingham Classic Clare and Kaesler are also performing well. The new cult
wine on the block, Shirvington, is attracting strong levels of bidding and corresponding
results. The 2002 Shiraz has reached $176 a bottle. The overall imported market
comprising Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone is extremely strong. The relatively small
offering of must-have vintages has elevated the market to new levels. Overall the
Australian auction market is very good. The volume of bidding has increased exponentially
since the advent of www.langtons.com.au, resulting in strong, convincing results.
Commission pressures remain high, but throughput and results have been extremely
Langton’s new Wine Exchange – launched in mid-May – is also performing well with
positive sales each week. Buyers can now buy premium wine without waiting for an
auction. Vendors using Langton’s Exchange can now adjust prices themselves in real
time. This will add further value to this new method of selling. Buyers should check
the Exchange regularly as new wines are listed and price changes to already listed
wines occur daily.
The top 10 lots sold in May including (including Buyer’s Premium and in AUD$)
1. 1996 Best’s Thomson Family Shiraz – $138
2. 1996 Clarendon Hills Astralis – $246
3. 1998 Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz – $77
4. 1996 d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz – $101
5. 1998 Dalwinnie Shiraz – $72
6. 1982 de Bortoli Noble One Semillon – $112
7. 1998 Hardy Eileen Hardy Shiraz – $95
8. 1990 Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz (Magnum) – $979
9. 1998 Kaesler Old Bastard Shiraz – $253
10. 1990 Mount Mary Quintet Cabernets – $346
In June the market continued to show resilience with increasing levels of buyers
and strong clearance rates. Langton’s June auctions saw clearance rates of 81%.
Aggressive bidding for older Australian vintage underlines the increasing interest
in classic Australian vintages. 1980 Petaluma Riesling achieved AUD$82.00 and Woodley’s
Treasure Chest Series AUD $371.00 regardless of condition. The 1971 Yalumba Alf
Mader Signature Series made AUD $57.00.
The demand for Bordeaux has been stimulated by the 2000 vintage. Not a huge amount
was brought into Australia. Healthy price realisations are pulling up prices of
other classic vintages. Classic Rhone and Alsatian wines are enjoying solid results.
Vintage Port is also regaining interest.
A comprehensive database of Australian and imported wine price realizations is available
at Wine Tools/Price Guide on this site.
The top 10 lots sold in June including (including Buyer’s Premium and in AUD$)
1. 1977 Baileys of Glenrowan – $49.50
2. 2001 Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir – $232.00
3. 1992 Best’s Thomson Family Shiraz – $117.30
4. 1990 Penfolds St.Henri – $105.00
5. 1980 Petaluma Riesling – $82.00
6. 1990 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz – $162.00
7. 1995 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon – $66.00
8. 1951, 1952 & 1955 Woodley’s Treasure Chest Series – $371.00
9. 1971 Yalumba Alf Mader Signature Series – $57.00
10. 1986 Chateau Mouton Rothschild – $771.00