Langton's Classification of Australian Wine

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Langton's Classification of Australian Wine is a listing of fine Australian wines compiled by wine-specialist auction house and online merchant Langton's. The Classification is a ranking of the best-performing Australian wines based on secondary market support over a minimum of 10 vintages. It was first published in 1991.[1][2][3][4] The Classification is divided into three categories - Exceptional, Outstanding and Excellent - and new editions have appeared at intervals of approximately five years. The sixth edition was published in May 2014 and includes 139 of Australia's finest wines. Editions of the classification are identified by Roman numerals.[1]

Langton's has been owned by Woolworths Limited since 2009.[5]

Langton's Classification of Australian Wine VI[edit]

The most recent Classification was released on 1 May 2014. Classification VI has three tiers; the previous Classification V had four tiers. The new tiers are

  • Exceptional: 21 wines in 2014.
  • Outstanding: 53 wines in 2014.
  • Excellent: 65 wines in 2014.[6]

History of the classification[edit]

The first Classification was published in 1991, Langton's Classification of Distinguished Australian Wine I, had its background in a publication from 1990, the Langton's Vintage Wine Price Guide. In the 1991 classification, 34 wines were classified using three categories: Outstanding (A), Outstanding (B), and Excellent. Only one wine was classified as Outstanding (A): Penfolds Grange Shiraz.[7]

Langton's sees its classification as "loosely modelled on the Bordeaux Classification of 1855",[7] but with its regular reclassifications it is more similar to the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine, although with several differences: no official governmental recognition, a much wider geographic scope, and with several different wine styles classified using the same categories.

Langton's Classification of Distinguished Australian Wine II was published in 1996, and included 64 wines in four categories: Outstanding A (three wines), Outstanding, Excellent A, and Excellent.

Langton's Classification of Australian Wine III was published in 2000, and included 89 wines in the four categories also used for classifications IV and V; Exceptional (seven wines), Outstanding, Excellent, and Distinguished. From classification III, fortified wines ("Port") were no longer included.[7]

Langton's Classification of Australian Wine IV of 2005 included 101 wines, of which 11 at the Exceptional level.[7]

In 2009, Langton's was purchased by Woolworths.[8] Despite concerns raised at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC),[9] the purchase went ahead, and Woolworths therefore owns the Classification.

So far (2014), no wine included in the top ("Exceptional") category has ever been demoted; this category remains the smallest but has progressively expanded to include additional wines with each edition of the Classification.[6]

'Exceptional' category[edit]

In the Classification VI (2014), the following 21 wines are included in the "Exceptional" category.[6] For historical reasons, Penfolds Grange is listed first, with the other wines following in alphabetical order. The year when the wines were included in the 'Exceptional' category (or its predecessor "Outstanding A") is indicated.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Langton’s launches first on-line Australian wine futures Campaign", James Halliday
  3. ^ Appellation Australia, An exploration of Australian wine
  4. ^ Langton's Classification of Australian Wine IV, Jancis Robinson
  5. ^ "Woolworths buys Langton's online wines auctions". 3 February 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ a b c d e Langton's Magazine: Classification of Australian Wine V - Historical analysis
  8. ^ "Langton's sold to Woolworths: The hammer falls - ACCC deadline passes".
  9. ^ "Woolworths Limited - acquisition of Langton's Fine Wine Auctions".

External links[edit]