As much as we love to complain about the premiumization of whisky that’s been happening in recent years, the wine business has always been a step ahead. So it was the renowned Australian Penfolds winery that recently raised the marketing bar even higher.
Their rather unpretentiously named 2004 Block 42 is supposed to be the wine with the highest price tag ever (A$ 168,000), and it comes in a rather special packaging: a hermetically sealed scientific-grade glass ampoule encased in a conical vessel that makes the ensemble look like an oversized syringe out of a 1950s mad scientist horror movie.
But this is not the best part yet! To quote Penfolds’ press release:
“The Penfolds Ampoule is not only a compelling work of wine art – it also provides a truly memorable experiential and sensory engagement. When a decision is made to open the ampoule a senior member of the Penfolds Winemaking team will personally attend a special opening ceremony for the owner (essentially your very own master-class). The winemaker will travel to the destination of choice, where the ampoule will be ceremoniously removed from its glass plumb-bob casing and opened using a specially designed, tungsten-tipped, sterling silver scribe-snap. The winemaker will then prepare the wine using a beautifully crafted sterling silver tastevin.”
Couldn’t this also be a model for the next phase in whisky marketing? Wouldn’t you too love to have Richard Paterson in person popping over to your place, equipped with a state-of-the-art tungsten-tipped scribe-snap to crack open the shiny ampoule of the yet-to-be-released £500,000 Dalmore Homunculus and throwing the first dram on YOUR carpet?