The Mollydooker Incident

The wines of Mollydooker

Remember the commercial where a huge wall of wine comes crashing down onto the winery floor, destroying every bottle, and the winemaker calmly goes to the computer and adjusts the price upward?

A similar situation occurred in Australia last week, as a forklift was loading wine into a ship for export. 5.544 bottles fell 20 feet onto a wharf in Port Adelaide, smashing most of them. The wine was the 2010 Velvet Glove Shiraz from Mollydooker, which sells for more than $200 per bottle. The loss is estimated at $1.4 million, and there’s more bad news—the price can’t be increased this time, since the accident ruined almost the entire production. According to a press release from the winery on PR Newswire, 70% of the bottles were damaged.

Anyone familiar with Australian wine has heard of Sarah and Sparky Marquis. They were involved with prestigious wineries such as Henry’s Drive, Parson’s Flat and Shirvington, and were partners with Dan Philips in the mass-market Marquis Philips brand. In 2006 they broke away to start Mollydooker.

Depending on your feelings about Australian Shiraz, and your sentiments about New World wine in general, the odds are that you either love or hate the Mollydooker style. It’s full-blown Australian Shiraz—extremely ripe, heavily oaked, full-bodied and powerful. It’s not for the faint of heart, nor is it a style that appeals to fans of elegance, nuance and balance.

Several days later, a curious thing happened. Mollydooker withdrew the press release, asking journalists to disregard the information in it, and announced that more news would be forthcoming at a later time (a curious request, since nothing actually disappears on the Internet). Perhaps some more Velvet Glove Shiraz will be discovered at an undisclosed location, or perhaps it will be revealed that not all the wine on the forklift was really Velvet Glove Shiraz. Maybe, just maybe, someone is rushing to the computer at this very moment.

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