Vintage dispute in supermarket war

The supermarket wars have had milk, eggs, toilet paper and tins of tuna in the sights. Now Woolworths and Coles are jostling to offer the most competitive price for the highly anticipated release tomorrow of Penfolds Grange, with their respective liquor outlets and bottle shops keen to win bragging rights of offering the lowest price for the expensive drop.

When the doors of Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy's and Coles-owned Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice open at 9am tomorrow, shoppers for the first time will be able to get their hands on a bottle, or bottles, of Penfolds Grange 2007, the latest vintage to be released under the luxurious and iconic wine label.

These liquor competitors will then release their price for a single bottle of the latest Grange, and immediately see what their rivals are offering.

Woolworths, Coles and new supermarket player Costco are keeping their pricing strategies secret for now, eager not to let their competition know what they are thinking, but only days out from the Grange sale it looks like Dan Murphy's is settling on a price of about $580 a bottle. The recommended retail price listed by Penfold's owner, the publicly listed Treasury Wine Estates, is from $625. The previous vintage was $599.

Not to be outdone, Vintage Cellars - a small format convenience store bottle shop that is part of the Coles group - had Penfolds Grange in its computer systems at $622.22 earlier this week, but this is not expected to be the final price and will most likely quickly float down below $600.

Costco is still waiting on its final allocation of Penfolds Grange 2007 but has a reputation for selling high-quality expensive wines at heavily discounted prices.

Penfolds is not releasing the size of the 2007 vintage but said yesterday Australia would get the lion's share of the latest Grange this week, with the rest of the stock shared equally across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Such is the excitement around the release of the latest iconic Grange, Dan Murphy's has put up a countdown clock on its website.

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.

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