Single bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951 sets world record

July 19, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

A bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951 has gone under the hammer at a Langton’s auction for $142,131*, which makes it the most expensive bottle of Australian wine ever sold, breaking the previous record of $103,000*.

The bottle is one of the few rare examples in existence of the first vintage of Penfolds Grange ever made, and it went under the hammer at the Langton’s Penfolds Rewards of Patience auction which closed on Sunday night at 7.00pm (AEST). The buyer is a Sydney-based wine collector.

“This is extraordinary, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a bottle of Australian wine would sell for this much. However, this is a unicorn of a wine, and one of the finest bottles we’ve ever seen come through at Langton’s,” said Langton’s Head of Auctions Tamara Grischy. 

“The buyer is thrilled to have secured this fine piece of Australian wine history for their collection,” she added. 

The Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz 1951 is the first vintage ever made of Australia’s most famous wine. Max Schubert only made three or four barrels of it, and he gave away most bottles to his friends.

This specific bottle of Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz 1951 was made even more special as it is signed by Max Schubert, and was hand re-corked in August 1988 at Penfolds Magill Estate winery by him.

In total, Penfolds Grange vintages from 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 went under the hammer for a total of $301,000 in the Langton’s auction, which makes a collection of the 1950s Penfolds Grange alone highly coveted. 

Most wine lovers collect these rare vintages to complete a Penfolds Grange set, which includes all bottles from 1951 to the latest release (current vintage 2016). 

Other highlights in the auction include Penfolds Bin 53 Grange Hermitage 1956 that sold for $50,678, Penfolds Bin 9 Grange Cabernet 1953 that sold for $33,204 and a PenfoldsBin 46 Grange Hermitage 1958 that sold for $30,874.

The record sale coincides with the 70th anniversary of Penfolds Grange. The South Australian heritage icon is one of the world’s most collected wines, and known for its Australian identity, consistency and proven aging potential.

“Incredulously, the 1951 Grange – the first vintage ever created – has sold for a world record price, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Grange in 2021. This is one to complete a collection,” said Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago. 

“After 70 years of unbroken vintage releases Grange continues to surprise and reward. Much to celebrate,” he added.

There are estimated to be around 35 bottles of the first vintage of Penfolds Grange in existence. This includes approximately 15 bottles that are part of complete sets of Penfolds Grange, which include all vintages of Penfolds Grange from 1951 to present day.

The Penfolds Australia Collection 2021 will be released on Thursday 5th August led by Grange 2017.

* All prices include Buyer’s Premium of 16.5 per cent, including GST and is paid on top of the hammer price.

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