‘Perfect’ Penfolds Grange sparks price war

2nd May, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

A price war is raging among retailers in Australia over the 2008 vintage of Penfolds Grange, which received a perfect 100-point score from The Wine Advocate.

Price wars: retailers are doing battle to offer the lowest price for the "perfect" Grange 2008

Price wars: retailers are battling it out to offer the lowest price for the “perfect” Penfolds Grange 2008

In a bid to lure buyers with the lowest retail price, Australian liquor chain Dan Murphy’s cut its price from AU$669 to AU$645 (£423) in order to go lower than US supermarket chain Costco as the cheapest place to buy the prized new release.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Costco responded to Dan Murphy’s discounting yesterday by knocking a further $5 off its price to bring it down to $645.

Sydney-based independent wine merchant Kemenys is also selling the wine for $645, despite it carrying a recommended retail price of AU$785 (£515).

Meanwhile, UK-based fine wine merchant Farr Vintners has waded into the pricing war, matching Dan Murphy’s and Costco’s price, selling the wine at £350 in bond, which, with VAT and duty added, works out at £422.40 a bottle.

Having put 78 bottles on sale yesterday, the wine was already moving quickly at Costco’s Melbourne store, with assistant manager Nick Weller reporting “fantastic” sales.

Grange's guardian: winemaker Peter Gago

Grange’s guardian: winemaker Peter Gago

“Hopefully by lunchtime we should be through them. There’s definitely a price war with it,” Weller told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Penfolds’ owners Treasury Wine Estates has raised the release price of Grange by 57% since 2007 when the 2002 vintage was released at AU$499 a bottle.

Penfolds Grange 2008 is the first Grange vintage since 1976 to receive a perfect 100-point score from The Wine Advocate.

Rated by TWA’s new editor-in-chief Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, she described the wine as having “a complex nose packed with mulberries, baking spices, cloves and cinnamon with nuances of minced meat, anise, potpourri and whiffs of dried mint and chocolate.”

Predicting the wine will comfortably last until 2035, Perrotti-Brown concluded: “This is clearly a wonderfully opulent and a magic vintage for this label.”

Last year, Woolworths and Coles triggered a price war over the 2007 Grange in Australia, stripping hundreds of dollars from the listed price on the first day of trading in order to boast the lowest retail price of the wine in the country.

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