Australian Bottle of Red Wine Sets a Record, Auctioneer Says

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From Reuters

An auction house in Australia is claiming the world’s highest price for a bottle of wine after attracting a winning bid of 44,400 Australian dollars (about $23,000 in U.S. funds) for a rare first vintage of the country’s most prestigious wine, Penfolds Grange.

“As far as we know, it’s the highest recorded price for a single bottle of wine in the world,” RMG auction manager Lisa Kanbar said.

The price, paid by Australian businessman John Manetti, amounts to about U.S. $3,600 a glass, and the vintage is not even regarded as the best Grange ever produced.


“There are other vintages that are drinking much better than the ‘51,” Kanbar said of the classic red created by Penfolds’ maverick winemaker, the late Max Schubert.

But she said the vintage was significant because, although it was not the first Penfolds Grange, it represented the birth of a new era of Australian winemaking.

Schubert produced it in secret for a number of years after being told to quit experimenting with the new Shiraz style.

Finally his bosses relented, and Grange is now regarded as Australia’s flagship red. It was named Wine of the Year in 1995 by the U.S. magazine Wine Spectator.

Only about 1,000 bottles of the vintage were produced, and Schubert shared most with friends and acquaintances.