Rare ’51 Grange sets new world record at auction

A rare bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951, which was signed and recorked by Max Schubert, has gone under the hammer at a Langton’s auction for $142,131, breaking the previous record of $103,000.

The world record bid for the wine marks it as the most expensive bottle of Australian wine ever sold, and at the price of $141K, makes it roughly worth more than $28K per glass.

The bottle is one of the few rare examples in existence of the first vintage of Penfolds Grange ever made, and went under the hammer at the Langton’s Penfolds Rewards of Patience auction which closed on Sunday night at 7pm (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,” said Langton’s Head of Auctions Tamara Grischy.

“However, this is a unicorn of a wine, and one of the finest bottles we’ve ever seen come through at Langton’s.

“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 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.

“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.”

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.


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