Full Grange Set Sets Record At Auction
Thursday, December 28, 2017 in News
A complete, 63-vintage set, 1951-2013 inclusive, of Penfolds Grange sold for a record $332,608 at auction this week. It’s one of the best-looking sets we’ve seen in a long time.
The Grange set was the centrepiece of our latest Langton’s Classification Series auction, which focused on the ‘Exceptional’ category -- the Classification’s highest.
Grange has headed the ‘Exceptional’ category of all six editions of the Classification since its inception in 1990.
The bottles of both 1951 and 1952 Grange in this set have been topped up, recorked, recapsuled and certified at Penfolds Red Wine Clinics. This no doubt gave bidders confidence both in the present condition and the likely longevity of these extremely rare bottles.
The previous record price ($294,320) was set in November.
Also included is a bottle of the 1953 Grange Cabernet that has also successfully completed the Clinic process. All vintages since 1992 are in pristine condition and all other bottles are in very good to excellent condition for their age.
Grange had to share the limelight in this auction with the other 20 wines that make up the ‘Exceptional’ category of the Classification. These are Australia’s most highly-regarded and sought-after wines -- the ‘first growths’ of the antipodes.
December also saw new record prices for other Penfolds wines at Langton’s annual Classic Penfolds Auction.
At this Penfolds-only auction a 1951 Grange sold for $59,416, setting a new record price for a single, 750ml bottle of Australian wine, an increase of 15 percent over the previous record of $51,750, set in July 2017.
The inaugural 1951 Grange is generally agreed to mark the beginning of modern Australian red winemaking. It was an experimental wine that was not released commercially. Few understood it at the time and, ironically given its value today, winemaker Max Schubert gave much of it away.
Another experimental wine, a Grange Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1953 vintage, fetched $17,475, equalling previous records.
Among a total of 750 lots, other early Grange vintages also maintained high prices:
- Bin 46 Grange Hermitage 1959 – $3787
- Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 1961 – $2914
- Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 1963 – $2273
- Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 1966 – $2098
The steady (or rising) prices of these wines reflects a strong secondary market for Australian wine, with Penfolds wines generally and Grange in particular the cornerstone.
Other Penfolds labels also performed well:
- St. Henri Shiraz 1962 – $3729
- Bin 7 Coonawarra Cabernet-Kalimna Shiraz 1967 – $3495
- Bin 170 Block 3C Shiraz, Kalimna 2010 (magnum) – $4893
The new record price for the 1967 Bin 7 (previously $2330) reflects the impact of birth-year buying – Bin 7 being one of few Australian wines likely to show at or near its best at 50 years old.
Another example of the birth-year effect is 1977 Grange – with a new record price of $1865 against the previous record of $759 set only in November 2017.
The overall clearance rate at the sale was a high 85 percent at an average bottle price of $330.
The bargain buy was 2008 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet at $26 per bottle.
The rarity (not seen at auction for almost two years) was a 1978 Dalwood ‘Claret’ from Penfolds’ Hunter Valley days, which sold for $118.
Note: All prices include buyer’s premium of 16.5%.
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