Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Full set of Grange to top $150,000

About 25 years ago I bought a dozen Grange at $11 per bottle! I still drink it on rare occasions but my Presbyterian background tends to rebel at the current price of around $500 per bottle

WHEN South Australian Noel Ryan bought his first bottle of Penfolds Grange, he'd barely heard of the famous drop.

The retired automotive industry marketing director had been asked to source a few bottles for an interstate customer in the mid 1990s, and once he'd unearthed several sought-after vintages, he was hooked himself.
A dozen years later, Mr Ryan had amassed a complete set of the ultimate Australian red, including the rarest of all, the first 1951 vintage made by the revered Max Schubert at Penfold's Magill winery.

"There's a fascination with Grange and once you start, you can't stop," Mr Ryan said ahead of his complete collection going under the hammer tomorrow at Adelaide's Wickmans Fine Wine Auctions.

Mr Ryan's passion for his collection was driven by the desire to be one of only 12 to 15 people in the world to own a complete Grange set, the elite club's membership decided only by the availability in the secondary market of the prized 1951 vintage.

Mr Ryan says that the day he flew to Sydney to buy his 1951, he took a 6am flight with a bundle of cash in his pocket, returning by 11am after nursing the bottle on his lap all the way home.

He completed his set also as part of a broad range of retirement investments.

"It's a form of investment that can give you a lot of enjoyment," Mr Ryan said.

"I've had a lot of thrills putting this collection together."

The value of the full set of Grange is estimated by Wickmans to be more than $150,000.

The full set can be viewed online here
Auctioneer Mark Wickman said Grange was proving a good investment during recent economic instability.

"I've actually found that since January, it's started to creep up in price," he said.

"I attribute that to the fact that there is a lot of papers around the world touting alternative investments such as wine and art. People looking to take their money out of the stockmarket are turning to these alternative investments."

More people were also buying Grange for consumption, which was keeping sales levels high.

"People seem to be drinking more of it," Mr Wickman said.

"There's a lot of interest from retailers and restaurants at auctions at the moment."

"At the end of the day, it is the collector and resultant custodian of this masterpiece of Australian history that will determine the price it falls to under the hammer.",22606,24062237-2682,00.html

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