The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Record auction price for ’51 Penfolds Grange

A private collector has paid $51,750 for a bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage, the first vintage ever produced of this iconic Australian wine.

It is believed this is the highest auction price paid for a Grange of this vintage, which was sold through Melbourne-based independent wine auction house MW Wines.

Nick Stamford, Managing Director of MW Wines, said fewer than 20 bottles are thought to remain in existence; with even fewer likely to be of this quality.

“The bottle of 1951 Grange has been verified at the Penfolds re-corking clinic, tasted, and signed by legendary Penfolds winemakers Max Schubert and Peter Gago who have declared it to be of ‘excellent’ condition.”

The sale formed part of a week-long auction of more than 13,000 bottles by MW Wines, which included 374 bottles of Penfolds Grange, with a combined value estimated at more than $1m.

Stamford said the record sale results reflect the current demand for ultra-fine Australian wine.

“Month on month we’ve seen record sale prices set at auction for old, rare and fine Australian wine with Penfolds Grange among the most popular with our buyers,” he said.

“Penfolds Grange has long been the jewel in the crown of Australian wine and the 1951 vintage represents such a significant part of Australia’s wine history. It’s a great result for our vendor and a very exciting addition for our buyers’ collection.”

Just 150 cases of the 1951 first vintage of Penfolds Grange were produced, and it was not sold commercially, instead Schubert gave them away to family, friends and colleagues.

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