Amidst a busy week of colourful community activity in this year’s 2015 Barossa Vintage Festival, last Friday’s inaugural Barossa Wine Chapters Auction was undoubtedly a blue-chip highlight.

Barossa Wine Auction. Nuriootpa, South Australia. Photo: John KrügerPresented in conjunction with the prestigious Langton’s Fine Wines auctioneers, and presided over by recently-inducted Baron of the Barossa, Andrew Caillard MW, the day was dedicated to a unique live auction and on-line bidding of Barossa’s finest examples and favourite sons. Verticals, large formats and single-bottle rarities of some of Australia’s greatest names and estates were all on offer: Penfolds Grange; Henschke Hill of Grace; St Hallett Old Block and Charles Melton Nine Popes among the rare and distinguished lots. Caillard, himself a veteran of over twenty years of international auction, declared: “I have rarely – if ever – seen such ferocious and determined bidding from the floor…”

At a time when all of the world’s international wine regions are trying to establish and then further their fine wine credentials, this was a first for an Australian wine region, and one that clearly sets a high bar for others to follow.

Earlier on this year, Barossa partnered with McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Clare as featured regions on the Epicurean Way Great Food and Wine Touring Route at the 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival, and then some two weeks later, was again demonstrating its fine wine credentials at the world’s biggest annual trade fair, ProWein, in Düsseldorf.

James March, chief executive of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association, explained: “Successful marketing is all about differentiation, and we believe that our fine wine story is one that makes Barossa stand out. The opportunity to create a unique event with a company like Langton’s is just good strategy – it’s a trading platform that both positions and promotes your region at the same time.

“There is no doubt that Australia needs to develop a fine wine narrative of its own, and this auction has cast Barossa as a major character in that story,” March concluded.

Barossa Wine Chapters Auction 2015 Highlights and Results

The Barossa Wine Chapters Auction, proudly supported by Langton’s, opened online for bidding on Thursday 2 April and culminated with the live auction and lunch on Friday 17 April in the Barossa attended by 410 people, many from interstate and overseas. The auction comprised of over 270 lots, with many great and rare wines offering collectors the opportunity to buy large formats, rare experiences, hard to find back vintage releases with perfect provenance direct from wineries.

Barossa Wine Auction. Nuriootpa, South Australia. Photo: John KrügerThe live auction, held in the Wolf Blass Visitor Centre Barrel Hall on Friday, was animated and enthusiastic with a remarkable dogfight of bids and counter-bids. Overall live and online results confirm that the Barossa represents the heartland of Australian wine. Strong buyer interest and highly competitive bidding lead to high clearance rates of 100% in the room and 80% clearance online and a string of buoyant auction prices largely achieving over the top end of catalogue estimates. Barossa’s strong representation on Langton’s Classification of Australian wine and overall currency say much about how Barossa’s wines are perceived by the fine wine market.

Veteran auctioneer Andrew Caillard MW, who took the sale, said “These exciting auction results could not have happened without Head of Langton’s Auctions, Tamara Grischy’s strong leadership, her small dedicated team, and the collaborative effort of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA). The strength of bidding was directly proportionate to an assertive, well planned and executed auction programme. Rarely in my career as an auctioneer have I encountered such an incredible volume of support, both in prices and generosity of spirit.”

Barossa Wine Auction. Nuriootpa, South Australia. Photo: John KrügerBGWA chief executive, James March commented: “The entire Barossa grape and wine community should be wholly encouraged by the fantastic results that were achieved on the day. The atmosphere was electric as the spirited bidding received rounds of spontaneous applause as the hammer fell on each lot. You couldn’t help but feel there was a real sense of confidence in the pedigree of the lots being presented and this flowed through to the prices achieved, which exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

“These results will not only further our support of the Barossa Vintage Festival, but with a percentage of proceeds being directed towards nominated charities, the region’s spirit of generosity has left a strong foundation to build on. I felt incredibly proud and privileged to have been a part of another winning chapter in the Barossa story,” he concluded.

Top prices in the live auction – including buyer’s premium

2009 HENSCHKE Hill of Grace Shiraz, Eden Valley, Imperial – $12,815 (equates to $1,601 per 750mls. Last auction price December 2014 -$536 per 750mls)

JACOB’S CREEK Steingarten Riesling 6 Bottle Mixed Set, Eden Valley – $1048 (equates $175 per bottle, average auction bottle price – $33)

1962 PENFOLDS Bin 60A Coonawarra Cabernet-Kalimna Shiraz -$7689 a record result for this wine at Langton’s auction (last auction price December 2014 – $4660)

2009 PENFOLDS Bin 95 Grange Shiraz, South Australia, imperial – $53590 (equates to $6698 per 750mls, average auction price for 750mls – $582)

PETER LEHMANN PERSONAL CELLAR 12 Bottle Mixed Set, Barossa Valley – $7689 ($641 per bottle)

ROCKFORD Basket Press Shiraz 6 Magnum Set, Barossa Valley -$6058 (equates to $1009 per magnum, average auction price for magnum -$300)

SEPPELTSFIELD 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny WWI Anthology Aged Tawny Port, Barossa – $6058, a record price, last price, 2014 – $5126

2006 TORBRECK The Laird Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Double magnum – $6058 (equates to $757 per 750mls. Last auction price August 2014 -$583 per 750mls)

1998 WOLF BLASS WINES Black Label, South Australia, magnum -$1281 (last auction price for a 750mls – $118)

Top 5 Prices Online – including buyer’s premium

2010 HENTLEY FARM Clos Otto Shiraz, Barossa Valley, double magnum – $1488, more than double top catalogue estimate.

1967 PENFOLDS Bin 7 Cabernet Shiraz, Coonawarra / Kalimna – $2144, a record price for Langton’s auctions, last price -$1607, December, 2014

PETER LEHMANN Stonewell Shiraz 10 Bottle Vertical 2001-2010, Barossa -$1282, equates to $128 per bottle, average bottle price across vintages approximately -$88

ROCKFORD Framed first edition Rockford poster autographed by Robert O’Callaghan, Barossa Valley – $940, top catalogue estimate -$250

1998 TURKEY FLAT Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, magnum -$270; 750mls price at auction -$58

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