Imperial reign: Penfolds’ decadent Saint-Louis crystal serving ritual

Crystal wine holder on a black stand
Penfolds has partnered with crystal master Saint-Louis on a special serving vessel that celebrates the winery’s Imperial release of its 2012 Grange
(Image credit: TBC)

Australian winemaker Penfolds has collaborated with Saint-Louis on a project that celebrates the winery’s latest release: a limited edition series of its 2012 Grange. Launched this month, the vintage arrives in an impressive bottle (a hefty six litres, as its Imperial badge would suggest) and is accompanied by a specially designed crystal decanter.

The 'Aevum' vessel was devised by the heritage winemaker in tandem with New York-based design studio and long time Penfolds collaborator Force Majeure, which brought its unique expertise in product development, packaging and brand identity to the serving ceremony of the Grange vintage.

‘This collaboration acknowledges the first commercial release of a Grange Imperial bottle and the 2012 Grange, which is a vinous mosaic of charm, allure and character,’ says Peter Gago, Penfolds’ chief winemaker. ‘We wanted something special, something that would enhance and celebrate the service ritual.’

Four sketches of wine holders

Early sketches of ’Aevum’ by design studio Force Majeure

(Image credit: TBC)

Crafted in fine crystal and supported by a metal structure fashioned by pewtersmiths L’Orfevrerie D’Anjou, the blown crystal decanter offers a perfectly balanced pouring experience. Its structure gives a utilitarian element to the precious vessel – a pure and precise exercise in craftmanship.

‘The majestic service ritual and sense of occasion are part of the enjoyment of wine and the fabric of Penfolds,’ continues Gago. ‘The 'Aevum' enhances these captivating characteristics in handcrafted crystal objects.’

Man pouring wine into a decanter

The ’Aevum’ crystal decanter

(Image credit: TBC)

As well as the 'Aevum', Penfolds has created a collection of smaller decanters – also produced by Saint-Louis – designed to rotate on their bases, aerating the wine.

‘The union of heritage and tradition, shown through this collaboration with Saint-Louis, has created two majestic objet d’arts,’ adds Gago. ‘They celebrate our Grange, which is a powerful expression of Penfolds’ multi-district blending philosophy, clearly demonstrating the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climates of south Australia.’

A progress sketch of the ’Aevum’ decanter

A progress sketch of the ’Aevum’ decanter by New York brand identity and packaging specialist Force Majeure, another collaborator on the project

(Image credit: TBC)

Large crystal wine decanter on a black stand and two small decanters by the side

Aevum’s launch was celebrated in Adelaide last week. Penfolds has created a collection of smaller decanters (pictured in foreground), also produced by Saint-Louis

(Image credit: TBC)


Penfolds limited-edition 'Aevum Service Ritual', $185,000. For more information, visit the Penfolds website

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.