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Originally focused on making fortified wines, Penfolds has become one of the quintessential luxury wine brands in the world and arguably the only Australian cult wine. It was founded in 1844 by Doctor Christopher Penfold, who came to Australia with a suitcase full of French vines. In the beginning, fortified wines were made, believed by the Doctor and his patients to be medicinal. Upon realizing the opportunity for growth in the wine world, he began creating wines from many regions. The varieties grown include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (some of the oldest continuously producing in the world), Grenache, Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Mataro and Sangiovese.
For collectors, investors and just plain wine lovers- the wines tick every box. In 1990, Wine Spectator named Penfolds “Wine of the Year”, which ignited global recognition for the producer and an increase in value/demand. A recent re-release of the 2004 Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon (limited edition, special packaging) is going for $168,000- significantly higher than the original asking price upon release of $225 a bottle. This makes it the most expensive wine in the world sold directly from a winery. The wines, specifically the highly and continuously lauded Grange Shiraz, symbolizes and embodies a place - even though it’s not a vineyard designate, but a blend of Barossa Valley fruit. Greatness is Penfolds, and from the horses mouth the best vintages on the current market are 1986, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002.
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