Penfolds Bin 111a: Once In A Decade Wine Investment Opportunity


The product of a secret experiment in the depths of Penfolds’ cellars at Magill Estate in the foothills of Adelaide, the iconic Grange is today revered by wine collectors around the world. Inspiration for the wine began with a trip to Bordeaux where Penfolds chief winemaker Max Schubert realised Australia could also make incredibly ageworthy fine wines capable of spending decades in the cellar. 

Unfortunately Schubert’s vision was a little ahead of his time and the Penfolds management initially blocked his initiative during the early 1950s. Not one to be deterred, Schubert defied their orders and went on producing Grange in secret. It is thanks to his persistence Grange is today considered one of the world’s greatest fine wines.

Earlier this autumn Penfolds released their much-anticipated Collection 2019 which includes the latest Grange vintage, the 2015. Opening with a release price of AUD $900, the 2015 Grange is already attracting significant attention from the fine wine world. The vintage has received perfect 100-point scores from Master of Wine and specialist wine auctioneer Andrew Caillard and Nick Stock who is one of Australia’s most prolific wine commentators.

In addition to the release of the 2019 Collection, Penfolds chose to mark their 175th anniversary with a very special bottling called Bin 111A, a 2016 vintage Shiraz. The first Special Bin wine to be released in nearly a decade, this top notch new wine is crafted from two of Penfolds’ single vineyard sites in the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley. Already awarded 100 points by Wine Advocate, this superb investment opportunity is a complex, well-structured wine with a very long life ahead of it.

“Wineries often have a show wine that will get a high score, but we don’t play that game,” commented Penfolds’ chief winemaker Peter Gago. “We’ve got to tick the boxes (of Penfolds’ flagship releases) – Grange, 707, RWT, St Henri – but then if there’s material that’s altogether different, at that level or better still … we can then create a Special Bin.”

Bin 111A shares some DNA with its famous cousin, Grange, since the two chosen vineyard sites are owned by proven Grange growers, but this special release takes the Penfolds house style to new heights both in terms of quality and pricing. “We have no problems saying the Special Bin can be at a higher level than Grange,” commented Penfolds’ chief winemaker Peter Gago.

Gago says he plans to make a Bin 111A every year going forward, “but the stars have to align.” Unlike Grange which ages in American oak, Bin 111A is matured in French oak which adds more delicate toasty and spiced notes. For Gago this subtle differentiation and use of fruit from Barossa and Clare Valley creates something entirely new for Penfolds, a “blank canvas” which can be “sketched with these colours, with this view’. 

Bin 111A joins a raft of historic Special Bin wines that have been released by Penfolds over the past 60 years. Commencing with the legendary 1962 Bin 60A, the list is decidedly short and includes 1967 Bin 7, 1973 Bin 170 Kalimna Shiraz, 1980 Bin 80A and Bin 820, 1990 Bin 90A and Bin 920, 1996 and 2004 Block 42 Cabernet, 2004 Bin 60A, 2008 Bin 620 and 2010 Bin 170 Kalimna Shiraz. These are rare, highly collectible releases that only appear in the greatest of vintages and are made in minuscule quantities of typically 500 – 1000 case lots, far smaller than Grange and the other Penfolds reds.

Although it is too early to predict future performance for the Bin 111A, this very unique release has already enjoyed high levels of interest from global wine collectors and has picked up a perfect 100 point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Demand for this unique new wine is expected to be particularly strong from China where Penfolds has established a strong brand presence, promising excellent future opportunities for investors able to enter the market at this early stage.

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