Penfolds’ $400,000 Wine Sale Is Actually The Bargain Of The Century

A lot of money for a lot of wine.

There are more than 2,400 wineries across 65 wine regions in Australia, but no Australian winery is more famous than Penfolds.

Founded in 1844, Penfolds is one of the oldest and most influential wineries in the Southern Hemisphere, and its flagship product – Penfolds Grange – is one of the world’s most desirable cult wines. No Australian wine collection is complete without a bottle or two of Grange, and the rare wine is widely coveted as an investment opportunity.

Naturally, Grange isn’t cheap: a contemporary vintage will set you back anywhere between $400 and $800, with older, more desirable vintages commanding four or five-figure price tags. But what about an entire ‘set’ – that is, a collection containing an example of every vintage since 1951? How much would that set you back?

Well, wonder no more: national liquor store chain Dan Murphy’s just sold a complete collection of Penfolds Grange for a whopping $400,000 in what’s widely believed to be the largest individual purchase ever made at an Australian liquor store.

The Penfolds Grange set that sold just days ago. Image: Dan Murphy’s

It’s impressive that Dan Murphy’s was able to collate a complete set of all 71 vintages – but most impressive was that they were able to track down a bottle of the very first year of Grange, 1951.

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“It is believed there are only a few dozen of the 1951 Penfolds Grange bottles in circulation, and this vintage is particularly coveted among collectors to complete a set,” Dan Murphy’s Managing Director Alex Freudmann told 9 News.

A single bottle of Grange 1951 sold last month for $157,000 (making it the most expensive Australian wine of all time), meaning it represents as much as 40% of the entire sale price – although, of course, the set is worth far more than the sum of its parts. Indeed, this set of Penfolds Grange might just be the biggest bargain of the century.

A bottle of Penfolds Grange 1951, the first year of production. Image: Decanter

Why is it such a bargain? Well, when you consider that single bottles of some American or French cult wines – like Screaming Eagle or Château Lafite-Rothschild – have recently sold at auction for over $400,000, getting a complete set of Grange (including the prized 1951) for $400,000 seems like a much better deal. 71 bottles is better than 1, right?

It also speaks to the fact that Australian wines, even those as famous as Penfolds, still don’t have quite the same cultural cache as wines from the Old World or other parts of the globe. But that’s actually a good thing in this instance: as Australian wines continue to grow in esteem; in prominence, the value of collections such as this one will only grow. It means the buying’s still good.

It’s also worth pointing out that Dan Murphy’s last sold a complete Penfolds Grange set back in 2018 for $320,000 – so a 25% increase in sale price in just under four years. That also bodes well for a Grange set’s performance as an investment opportunity.

As individual bottles become more and more scarce and it becomes harder to assemble a complete set, we can only imagine the value of this Grange set will grow exponentially. In that sense, it’s a bloody steal.

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