Believe it or not, me and Sparky go waaaaaaaay back! I’m talking 2009, here!
Mollydooker winemaker Sparky Marquis was actually the first ever winemaker I interviewed when I started blogging. This week he came back to Jacksonville for the release of his 2010 wines. The interview was supposed to last about 15 minutes. We ended up talking for closer to an hour.
<Sparky starts pouring every-single one of his wines into glasses lined up in front of me.>
I guess the main thing with all of these, when we start talking about style it’s an interesting factor, because we base all of our wines on fruit weight. So because the fruit weight stays the same, stylistically the wines are going to be identical every vintage. We do get a slight variation from regional variances, but in terms of style it’s identical.
It was an incredible story. Back in July, there was the press release about $1 million dollars of our wine in Australia being dropped, and it was the 2010 Velvet Glove…it was incredible. The whole time since then has been amazing. It was just “one of those things”, a mechanical failure. Nothing you could do about it.
<Laughs> Oh yeah! The forklift driver was devastated. We ended up bringing every-single box back to the winery, and we had them all laid out, and it was just like a cemetery! Tombstone, after tombstone, after tombstone. We inspected every single case, and nothing was recovered. All 462 cases got destroyed.
Yeah! The number of people that have heard of Mollydooker as a part of the crash, there are probably a few balancing points going into it as well!
For us, social media has been such an important factor of what we do. I can remember, it wasn’t that long ago that we were in a process of writing individual emails to people, then it gets to a point where email just wasn’t cutting it. We have around 22,000 people on our mailing list.
Mom was always super excited about social media, Facebook and Twitter, but none of us really understood it…
That’s right! I mean, she couldn’t quite work out how it get it to work properly, but we knew that we needed to get on-board, and quickly. What we were seeing in the wine world was an interaction of people, so we started implementing social media. We started badly, as we had setup ourselves as a personal account instead of a company account.
Lesson learned, you know. From Facebook, we started looking at Twitter, and again we went at it the same way we were doing in the email days….one-on-one…
Yeah…well it’s funny. Just yesterday, a Twitter post went up about a Mollydooker tasting that’s going to happen tomorrow in Florida. The only thing is, we didn’t know about it! So we were like “Great! Alright!”, ok, we better work that into our plans then! So it’s lucky we saw it on Twitter, and it just so happens that we’re in the area.
So now, we monitor all the airwaves with what’s happening when people talk about Mollydooker. We do respond personally to every person.
I would say very definitely! It was slow at the start, but now we’re in a massive acceleration phase, and what’s interesting is that, at Mollydooker, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of things. So we when start things people are always like “what are they doing!?!? They’re a bit weird!!!” Then, all of a sudden, we seem to have almost become the leaders of the field, and then everyone else is like “Oh wow! We should have been doing that!”
Luckily for everyone else, we’re happy to share our experiences.
Yeah, first vintage we’ve done that. So you can zap our bottles, and it goes straight to our mobile website. We’ve added to our mobile website, so you can now plug-in your postcode, and you can find exactly where-else that wine is available, which bottle-shop, which restaurant.
I think we’ve definitely been awoken to the possibilities, and now we’re much quicker to react.
For us, we really don’t think there’s anything new with all this social media stuff. It’s just a better way to service people.
Rick happened to be down in Australia, and Mom went to a conference on social media in the wine industry, and Rick was presenting at that.
What I think most of the problem is that, most companies that approach us, think that they should be telling us what to do, instead of asking what they can do for us. There’s a difference.
So we took Rick on, as we liked the way he approached our business. So we started working together, and our very first project coincided at the exact same time as the Velvet Glove crash. It’s funny because, we were working on a viral marketing campaign, some way to create buzz and excitement around our brand. We devised this plan to name one of our wines, and people would submit their suggestions on our website. The winner would get a trip to Australia to our winery.
So we we just about to launch this huge marketing campaign, and we were going to release the name of the winner on a Monday. Problem was, the Friday before was when the container dropped! And the press on the container drop went TOTALLY VIRAL! So we had spent all of this time, all of this effort on a viral marketing campaign…
<laughs> EXACTLY! So we ended up having to delay the whole project, because there was so much viral press going on in every single media! So we held the original program back for about 4 weeks, before we felt that noise had died down from the container crash.
Yeah, it’s Miss Molly, Sparkling Shiraz.
Errrrm…first week of December.
No, it’s a long-term thing. We’re super excited about it! We’re actually using the proper Champagne process, no carbonation. I just spoke with Sarah not that long ago…she was actually at the printers getting the labels done. <Thinks for a few seconds> You know what? I could actually send you a mock-up! Nobody has seen it yet! I’ll get your email address once we’re done, and I’ll send it to you!
Below is the first-ever look at the new Mollydooker Label: Miss Molly.
Yeah, well, we start at $25 for our Lefty wines…and go upwards from there.
Our overall philosophy is that we always wanted to make sure that the wine in the bottle is 2x quality levels above the price on the outside. We want people to say, “WOW! We’re drinking the Boxer, and we can’t understand why we’re only paying $25 for it.” That then honors them for the work that they do, so they can buy our wine.
The second part to it is a three question test, that we ourselves go through with all of our wines.
The first question is: would I drink a glass of it?
That’s a question that we ask ourselves through the whole maturation process. If they answer’s, no. We don’t use that parcel of wine. We sell it off. If the answer’s yes, it moves on.
The second question is: would I drink a bottle of it? Again, same result.
Question three is, we just add: by myself? Would I drink a bottle by myself?
I think our main point is that we can answer without hesitation that we would drink a bottle of every-single one of our wines, by ourselves. We want people to know that we aren’t making our wines for any type of commercial or economic program. What we did is create something we are super-passionate about, that we love, are totally focused on, that’s part of our life, and they can taste it.
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