Penfolds has had second thoughts on the price of its flagship Grange 2008, due for release on May 2, and it's bad news if you were planning to buy a bottle of Australia's most famous wine.

Not content with the initial increase from $445 to $516, announced to retailers a month ago, Penfolds has now pushed it to $580.60.

And that's just to get it in store. Retailers then try to make a small amount on it.

Treasury Wine Estates Australia and New Zealand managing director Chris Flaherty justified the Grange increase on the basis a few wine scribes had heaped praise on the latest release, most notably the Wine Advocate's Robert Parker, who gave it 100/100.

Mr Flaherty said since the Wine Advocate scores were published "we have been inundated with an increase in (pre-release) demand from around the world - particularly for Grange, and given that our supply of these Icon and Luxury wines remains incredibly limited we feel that we must increase our prices". He said Penfolds was still good value and "the price increases are designed to ensure there are no further price increases next year".

The increase is sure to heighten the tension in liquor retailing. Many smaller independent liquor retailers have turned their backs on the Penfolds Bin range released recently as the price war between the two Australian liquor retailing giants, Coles and Woolworths, takes its toll.

Independent retailers contacted by _WestBusiness _ said it was not worth getting these wines in because they could not compete with the deals struck between Penfolds and the big players. .

The West Australian

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