Penfolds' releases $1,000 red

close-up of red wine being poured into a glass
close-up of red wine being poured into a glass

At $1,000 per bottle, it's Australian wine brand Penfolds' most expensive red at the time of its release, and the first customers to see the luxurious drop are in China.

Treasury Wine Estates, which owns the Penfolds brand, this week released its Penfolds 2008 Special Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz in Shanghai at a gala dinner for about 100 well-heeled wine connoisseurs, collectors and others from Asia, Europe and Australasia.

The first Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz was released in 1966.

More than 40 years later in 2008, Penfolds believed the grapes from parts of its vineyards in South Australia's Coonawarra region were so good that another Bin 620 was warranted.

Penfolds global brand director Sandy Mayo said from Shanghai that the 2008 Special Bin 620 was a very special wine and rare.

The number of 12-bottle cases available worldwide is limited to the hundreds.

"Our special bin wines are only made in exceptional vintages with exceptional parcels of fruit," Ms Mayo said.

"When customers started hearing about it (the 2008 Special Bin 620), we had a great deal of interest in it.

"The demand that we were getting from all over the world, and the high level of interest for the very small volume that we have, set the price at $1,000 (per 750ml bottle)."

Ms Mayo said the 2008 Bin 620 even surpassed Penfolds' renowned shiraz brand, Grange, in price.

"This is the most expensive wine on release that we've had," Ms Mayo said.

She said demand for Penfolds was accelerating around the world, including Asia.

"That's why we are in China now and why we're launching this wine in China."

Australia was still Penfolds' most important market, but demand for the brand was also growing in southeast Asia, Hong Kong, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and Nordic countries.

The Chinese market was still behind Australia, United States and Europe in terms of the volume of Penfolds wines sold there but was potentially the fastest growing.

Ms Mayo said that in relation to luxury wines such as Bin wines, a growth number was not relevant because Penfolds sold everything it produced.

"If we could make five times as much, we could probably sell all of that as well," she said.

Ms Mayo said Penfolds was very well known in China among wine consumers, and Penfolds was considered a highly aspirational brand.

"The demand for all of our wines, but particularly Grange, Bin 707, Bin 389 and Bin 407, is really, really high.

"A wine like Special Bin 620 is adding to that level of aspiration."

She said interest in the 2008 Bin 620 came from collectors who bought a lot of French wine and Penfolds, very wealthy individuals who liked to buy the most desirable things, and fine wine outlets in the travel and retail sectors.

Ms Mayo said that despite the $1,000 price tag, the 2008 Bin 620 was far from the most expensive first-release luxury wine.

Some first growth (Premier Cru) wines from France could cost over 10 times more.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 23 Nov 2014 19:28:28 Processing Time: 515ms