Sarah Marquis takes ownership of Mollydooker
Mollydooker, that McLaren Vale winery so beloved of the Americans, propelled by Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate reviewers, has undergone an upheaval of late. A break-up between co-founding couple Sparky and Sarah Marquis sees Sparky departing the scene and Sarah taking sole ownership the business. Sarah’s father-in-law Leigh Gawith is also still involved with the vineyards, and 21-year-old son Luke will be more involved in the future.
I have often found the Mollydooker wines overripe and too alcoholic (don’t get me started on the 15.5% alcohol dry white verdelho!) but I’ve found more to enjoy in recent times. The reds seem to be fresher and brighter, where in the past there was a lot of ‘dead fruit’ (tired, porty wines made from grapes left hanging on the vines too long) usually accompanied by searing alcohol.
Sarah says she has always shared the winemaking with Sparky and in future, it will be her working with a winemaking team. The emphasis will be less and less on ‘Sarah & Sparky’ and more on the strong Mollydooker brand, which sells 100,000 cases a year, 50% in the US.
Mollydooker has a niche market of loyal followers, assisted by clever marketing, colourful labels, catchy wine names, and quirky ideas. The latter include the ‘Mollydooker Shake’ – they encourage us to vigorously shake a bottle of young red wine before pouring it, to liberate the dissolved gases. See the video on their website.