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Got $168K burning a hole in your pocket? Penfolds unveils world’s most expensive wine

on 28/06/12 at 3:39 pm


The custom ampoule made for Penfolds's Block 42 limited release. (Source: Penfold's)

Penfolds Commemorates 2004 Block 42 with Limited Edition Ampoule.

Penfolds, arguably the leading producer of Australian fine wine, will celebrate the provenance of a truly extraordinary wine, 2004 Block 42, with the launch of twelve limited edition Ampoules, the only wine released that has been completely encased in glass – no cork; no screwcap. Each Penfolds Limited Edition Ampoule is expected to retail for $168,000 USD, making it the most expensive wine directly sold from a winery in the world. The global launch of the limited edition Ampoule will take place in Moscow, Russia with Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago.

Penfolds 2004 Block 42 is a rare, single vineyard wine, only made in exceptional vintages and produced from the oldest continuously producing Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world. With only twelve handmade globally, the Penfolds Ampoule is a testament to the passion that Penfolds has for not only innovation and fine wine, but for its South Australian heritage and the skills of the region’s finest artists and craftsmen, four of whom were commissioned to collaborate on this unique project.

The glass sculpture that entirely encases the wine was designed and hand-blown by Nick Mount, a world-renowned glass artist who resides in Adelaide, South Australia. Prominent Australian designer-maker Hendrik Forster prepared all the precious metal detailing. South Australian furniture craftsman Andrew Bartlett has designed and made the bespoke Jarrah cabinet. And the scientific-grade Ampoule, designed to store the wine in an ideal environment, was created by veteran scientific glassblower Ray Leake. Together they have crafted a beautiful, thoughtful, unique objet d’art, to be a lasting receptacle for one of the world’s rarest, most sought-after wines.

Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago, comments: “Behind every Penfolds wine is the joy, energy, research and science that shapes it. The Ampoule Project is typical of the pioneering philosophy behind Penfolds’ winemaking evolution. The collaboration with South Australia’s finest artists has been a fitting tribute for one of South Australia’s finest wines.”

The Penfolds Ampoule is not only a compelling work of wine art – it also provides a truly memorable experiential and sensory engagement. When a decision is made to open the Ampoule a senior member of the Penfolds Winemaking team will personally attend a special opening ceremony for the owner (essentially your very own master-class). The winemaker will travel to the destination of choice, where the Ampoule will be ceremoniously removed from its glass plumb-bob casing and opened using a specially designed, tungsten-tipped, sterling silver scribe-snap. The winemaker will then prepare the wine using a beautifully crafted sterling silver tastevin.

For more information, or to purchase the Penfolds Limited Edition Ampoule, please contact Lily Lane, lily.lane@penfolds.com or 707.299.3252

Penfolds has been producing an impressive array of wines since 1844 and indisputably led the development of Australian fine wine into the modern era. The introduction of Penfolds Grange in 1951 forever changed the landscape of Australian fine wine. Since then a series of standout wines, both white and red, have been released under the Penfolds masthead.

For more information on the wines, including in-depth tasting notes, visit www.penfoldsusa.com