Friday, December 28, 2007

Mollydooker dreamin': An afternoon with Sparky Marquis & Mom

Wow, yet another rare opportunity. Business took me to Asia recently - first to Mumbai (India); then to Adelaide and Sydney (Australia). The trip spanned a weekend, during which I planned a brief drive to McLaren Vale for a couple of winery visits. (Of course, I'll post additional wine reviews here soon.)

Before arriving, I kicked an email to one of my favorite wineries in the world, Mollydooker, to see if a visit might be possible. General Manager Janet Gawith, aka “Mom", was more than gracious in her response. ("Mom" is more than a term of endearment for Janet, since she is the real-life mother of Mollydooker winemaker Sparky Marquis.) Janet offered me and my business colleague, Dave, not only a visit, but a personal tour of the brand-new, just-about-to-be-purchased Mollydooker vineyards and winery in the heart of McLaren Vale.

Well, of course we’d accept the offer to visit and tour! So the stage was set for a few truly memorable hours for me and my colleague with Sparky and Mom at their new Mollydooker winery on Coppermine Road, McLaren Vale.

(Pictured above are Sparky Marquis and his Mom, Janet Gawith, sharing a moment in the midst of the new Mollydooker vineyards in McLaren Vale, Australia. Below, the author with Sparky and Janet.)

Here are highlights from the visit (I will hotlink them as I generate additional postings):

-- Sparky and Mom show off highlights of the new vineyards and winery.

-- Sparky tells me a bit about his –shhh-–secrets— for growing amazing grapes.

-- Sparky pulls an early draft of what COULD be a component of 2007 Velvet Glove - if there IS a 2007 Velvet Glove - right from the spigot on the stainless tank!

-- For lunch, Sparky, Janet, Dave and I enjoy a view of the South Pacific, fish and chips, a bottle of 2006 Velvet Glove and each other’s company. Pinch me now!

All in all, we had a great time throughout our visit... from hearing about Sparky’s unique viticulture techniques, to enjoying lunch, to touring the new facilities, to walking the vineyard, to sipping barrel samples of individual wine components destined for The Boxer, Carnival of Love, Enchanted Path- every moment was truly memorable.

It was so rewarding to get a glimpse into the people and lands behind some of our favorite wines anywhere. As individuals, Sparky and Janet proved even more extraordinary than the exceptional wines they help craft.

Can’t wait to sample the 2007 blends once they get to bottle!

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