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Grange war: first $1 milk, now $600 wine

Dan Murphy's has put up a countdown clock on its website for the premium wine's launch.

Dan Murphy's has put up a countdown clock on its website for the premium wine's launch. Photo: Penny Stephens

The heated supermarket wars have spilt over into the sale of Australia's most prestigious and luxurious wine, Penfolds Grange, with bottle shops owned by Coles and Woolworths, and new player Costco, jostling to offer the lowest price possible for the latest release of Penfolds Grange 2007.

The 2007 Grange will be released on Thursday morning nationwide and is one of the most anticipated wine releases of the year.

US discount giant Costco, which has three warehouse stores in Australia, is yet to even receive its allocation of the latest Grange from Penfolds. Costco is believed to have concerns about the timing of the wine's arrival to its warehouses.

Early investigations before the big launch have found that Dan Murphy's, the big-box liquor store owned by Woolworths, will look to sell the latest Penfolds Grange release at about $580 a bottle, against the recommended retail price set by Penfolds of $625 a bottle. A Dan Murphy's staff member confirmed initial pricing but added the price could change.

Not to be outdone, Vintage Cellars, owned by Coles, is looking to match that offer. One of its inner-city Melbourne stores has an internal price of $622.22 slated for the Grange, but is likely to change the price at the time of its release.

A spokesman for Coles told BusinessDay that the company would not release pricing for the 2007 Grange before it landed in stores but was confident it would be competitive in the market. Dan Murphy's is a big-box format whereas Vintage Cellars is a convenience and smaller format store.

Costco, the new entrant into the Australian supermarket and grocery sector, will attempt to trump them all and in the United States is well known as a leading retailer of luxurious and high-priced wines to its club members.

Such is the excitement around the release of the latest iconic Grange, Dan Murphy's has put up a countdown clock on its website with both Woolworths and Coles-owned bottle shops investing in extra marketing and in-store events to attract customers.

Some stores will also hold larger events on the weekend to bring in crowds. It is also expected that both Coles and Woolworths will advertise widely in newspapers as they circle each other around pricing the 2007 Grange.

The recommended retail price set by Penfolds is only just that, a recommendation, and the wine group has no power to enforce a floor on the latest 2007 vintage. When the 2006 Penfolds Grange was released it had a recommended retail price of $599 a bottle, although the supermarket chains quickly fought it out to have the lowest price.

egreenblat@theage.com.au

110 comments

  • You can probably get it online in the US cheaper still.

    Commenter
    baulko
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 01, 2012, 12:38PM
    • Omen # 462 that the Australian economic bubble is about to pop - mum & dad supermarkets competing on the price of a $600 bottle of wine.

      Commenter
      JeanPierre
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 12:50PM
    • Yep. Right here. http://www.wine.com. First one I checked and already aged two years.

      Commenter
      baulko
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 1:05PM
    • Baulko, you genius. The 2007 release is expected to be one of the all time greats.. but yes, compare it to something two years ago that has "a couple of years of age"... maybe stick to commenting about something you have some idea about?

      Commenter
      genius
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 1:31PM
    • @baulko. True. No 2007 of course but heaps of older Grange at less than US$300. Just looking at a 1996 in fact for $280. There's a 2003 for $260. Sotherby's Wines in NY has a perky 2002 for $245, Belmont Wines in California a 1988 for $290. The list is long and none has actually hit the $300 mark. Another example of how we are ripped off here. More to the point another example of us being charged too much because too many people here don't know how to say "sod off, I'm not paying that much". Consumers here may grizzle but they still cough up and the suppliers know that. We are our own worst enemy in this respect.

      Commenter
      Boozer Bob
      Location
      Skid Row
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 1:40PM
    • Yes and if you get it sent here you will pay 29% wine tax with GST on top of the total price, along with Customs processing charges and freight. Go for your life!

      Commenter
      Sigmamupi
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 1:53PM
    • Grange may be cheaper in the US but then you may have to pay import duties and wine equalisation tax (to bring an Australian wine back into Australia). Also every US state has different rules on posting booze some quite backward dating back to prohibition days. I was in the US last year and had all sorts of trouble sending wine back to Australia from Napa valley. In the end I had to check it in with my luggage after it spent 2 months in the boot of my rental car crossing the country. So be careful not to waste your money in hidden taxes etc

      Commenter
      The Doctor
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 1:59PM
    • @Sigmamupi & The Doctor. I don't think anyone is actually suggesting buying the wine in U.S. and bringing it back. The issue was just to highlight that we are paying more in Australia for Australian products than those products are available for in USA and that's after freight and other costs.

      Commenter
      Boozy Bob
      Location
      Skid Row
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 2:59PM
    • To all those on this thread outraged at Australians being ripped off when you compare to prices in the US you are basically wrong. The key differential is our tax system where in that reccomended retail price of Grange at $620 per bottle there would be $56.36 of GST and approximately $80 of WET. In California they would pay $0.29 of excise and around $23 of sales tax per bottle. Retailers mark up on a percentage basis so the efect is axagerated. There would be no more than around $20 per bottle differential in what the producer receives in both markets which is driven by fluctuating exchange rates. So blame the govenment!

      Commenter
      Informed
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 4:06PM
  • Well, at that price looks like it's Grange on the wheeties tomorrow.

    Commenter
    dfb
    Date and time
    May 01, 2012, 12:46PM

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