A complete set of Penfolds Grange has sold for a world-record price of almost $400,000 at the biannual Langton’s Rewards of Patience Auction. The famous Australian red wines, comprising consecutive vintages from 1951 to 2015, sold to a collector for $372,800*. The previous record price for a full set of 65 vintages was $349,500*.
Langton’s general manger Jeremy Parham says demand is rising for full collections of Penfolds Grange as they become scarcer. “Every set is unique and has its own unique value depending on its condition and provenance,” he says. “This was a super set that was in perfect condition, so I’m not surprised about the result.”
At the same auction, two rare bottles of the inaugural 1951 vintage of Penfolds Grange sold for more $81,000 each, which also exceeds the previous record of $80,000.
Tamara Grischy, head of auctions at Langton’s, believes there are less than 20 bottles in circulation from the 1951 vintage, which is coveted among collectors. “This wine truly represents the beginning of modern Australian wine, as Penfolds Grange has put Australia on the world map of fine wine,” she says.
A Penfolds Grange from 1953 – which is a cabernet – sold for more than $31,000, exceeding its previous sale price in 2017 of $17,475. This reflects a rise of 60 per cent. At the other end of the price spectrum was the sale of a 1990 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Claret Cabernet Blend for $30. “This is an absolute bargain for a wine that is almost 30 years old, and it is drinking beautifully at the moment,” Tamara says.
The wines in the Langton’s Rewards of Patience Auction are sold on consignment – on behalf of collectors. In total, more than 1800 bottles of Penfolds went under the hammer in the online auction, collectively fetching more than $1 million. “The market demand for Penfolds remains strong and healthy,” Tamara says.
“I think we love Penfolds because it’s such an Australian story, it’s the underdog story defined. Max Schubert was Penfolds first chief winemaker, who started making the Grange as an experiment. At the time, Australian winemakers were mainly making fortified wines,” she says. “He believed in his conviction, and kept making the Grange, although he was actually told to stop making it by his supervisors. He was a rebel, and the wine world can forever be grateful for his refusal to do what he was told,” she added.
The Langton’s Rewards of Patience Auction is in its 23rd year and takes place every six months. The next auction is scheduled for June 2020.
*Including Buyer’s Premium, which is 16.5% including GST and paid on top of the hammer price.