Penfolds-Maker Touts $142,000 Barrels Of Wine In Hong Kong

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Penfolds-Maker Touts $142,000 Barrels Of Wine In Hong Kong

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. is offering newly filled barrels of Penfolds for A$198,000 ($142,000) each, together with private cellar visits, in the latest attempt to monetize its most famous brand.

The world’s largest listed vintner, which owns dozens of brands including Wolf Blass and Beringer, has been targeting Chinese drinkers for its biggest labels and announced the barrel promotion Wednesday in Hong Kong, coinciding with the city’s three-day wine and spirits show Vinexpo.

China is the world’s biggest consumer of red wine and Asia is Treasury’s fastest-growing region by revenue. Australia’s shipments to China in 2015 rose faster than to any other export market, surging 66 percent to A$370 million, according to Wine Australia.

For a piece on how China lifted Treasury Wine’s profit to a record, click here.

While Penfolds Grange is Treasury’s most famous wine -- the 1953 vintage can cost A$25,000 a bottle -- the company is betting it can drum up interest in whole barrels of less expensive wine by throwing in extras like tasting and wine-making sessions.


Customized Packaging

Buyers will be able to customize the packaging for their wine, which Treasury won’t sell anywhere else, the company said in a statement. Each barrel can fill 336 standard bottles, translating to A$600 per bottle.

According to Treasury’s statement, Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago will pick a blend of grapes for a limited number of barrels. They’ll be stored at the Magill Estate in South Australia for about 18 months, with the buyers allowed to visit the cellar, before the wine is bottled, said Simon Marton, Treasury’s chief marketing officer. He wouldn’t say how many barrels would be put up for sale.

The promotion is part of Treasury’s attempt to turn itself into a brand-led consumer company from an agriculture-based winemaker tied to the commodities cycle. The new barrels go on sale July 1.


“It’s as much about the wine as it is about the scarcity and the experience,” Marton said in a telephone interview from Melbourne. “The ones that you can’t get -- they’re the ones that people want.”

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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