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$122,001 per bottle: Rare Penfolds Grange 1951 sells for record price

·Contributing editor
·2-min read
Penfolds Grange sells for record $112,001. Source: Getty
Penfolds Grange sells for record $112,001. Source: Getty

A rare bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange has sold for a record $122,001 in what is the highest price ever paid at auction for a bottle of Australian wine.

The bottle, which is signed by creator and Penfolds chief winemaker at the time Max Schubert, sold in just two bids in an online auction yesterday that was watched by 76 people.

The bottle, re-corked in 1988 because the original cork had perished, is listed as having minor label damage with a wax stamped seal now over the original white foil capsule.

The sale smashed the previous record set by a bottle of Penfolds Bin 1 Grange Hermitage which was won at auction last year by a Melbourne buyer who paid $103,000.

In 2018, a bottle of the Penfolds Grange 1951 vintage sold for $80,386 with two bottles fetching $81,000 each the following year.

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At that same auction in 2019, a full set of Grange, from 1951 to 2015, was snapped up for $372,800.

That was followed by a Sydney wine lover paying $430,000 for a set in December last year.

"This bottle of 1951 is extremely rare, comes from an exceptional cellar and will be highly sought after by collectors," the company said.

While it is hard to be certain, estimates suggest there are up to 35 bottles of the original vintage still in circulation, including about 15 that are part of complete sets.

Why is Penfolds Grange so valuable?

The Penfolds Grange range started out as an experiment by Schubert in 1951, who only gifted it to friends and family and kept the remainder as museum stock.

Much to his shock, the wine was widely disliked and by 1957, Penfolds ordered him to stop production.

This meant the wine was never commercially released.

But Schubert didn't comply and the next three vintages were produced in secret and hidden.

Today, a bottle of Penfolds Grange starts at $900, but the older and rarer stock fetches significantly more.

- with AAP

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