Australia’s most expensive wine released today- April 1 2016 – $1288.88
Brendan Miller-gorge interviews winemaker Ivan Messerine and Wine Ecstasy’s Chief Marketing Manager Shane Burn-Harris, and discuss the just-released 2014 Ecstasy 1®.
What does the wine taste like, and when will it be drinking at its peak?
Shane- I best defer to Ivan on this for his technical expertise, but I was blown away. I’ve tried the best in the world; this is in its own league.
Ivan – That is a tough question; it would be like trying to explain ballet to someone blind and deaf. Perhaps I can start by saying it’s like no other wine; it has a startling purity; the bouquet is overwhelming, the palate exquisite. It will become one of your most treasured memories.
While Ecstasy 1® can be savoured with extreme pleasure now, that same sensory experience – magnified- will be available throughout the next fifty years.
What is the variety or blend?
Shane- naturally that is commercial in confidence, but the truly unique blend includes Shiraz, Gruner Veltliner and Arneis, plus more. Ivan spent hundreds of hours testing, tweaking – amazing. It truly shows his talent for sourcing special grapes, his mastery of blending, and his intuitive use of the latest technologies.
Can we discuss the price?
Shane- Well for a wine of this calibre, and our target audience, it’s extraordinary value. The consumers will have a magnificent experience, there are so many wonderful stories behind the wine, the people, the places.
The cost is much more than say Henschke’s Hill of Grace, or Penfolds Grange – what justifies that?
Ivan – it is a real zeitgeist; the wine parcels were suffused with love – the musical influences included David Bowie, Glen Frey, Allen Toussaint. Our standards are Olympian. Many winemakers literally begged for what we rejected.
Shane – Ecstasy 1® is magnificently packaged, the labelling is an artwork in itself, the bottle shape is so elegant too; each bottle is individually numbered, and there are several anti-fraud initiatives involved, microchips, barcode, and a few that must remain secret. Comparisons with other Australian wines are odious; we are proud to represent Australia against our very few peers overseas. There are larger format bottles too, magnums, imperials, and, we have smaller, sample packages available.
What do the wine critics think?
Shane -We refuse to submit to the tyranny of the traditional ill-informed scribblers. Nevertheless, we submitted our wine anonymously at a prestigious international wine competition, where it won its class.
Ivan, where have you worked in the Australian wine industry?
Ivan – it’s not where you work or how much experience you have, it’s your talent, ambition and opportunities. I’ve made wine in Oodnadatta and Orange, the Barossa, Bendigo and Beenleigh. This spectacular wine is blended from parcels from every Australian State.
Didn’t that happen with the Centenary of Australian Federation wine?
Shane- that was just a gimmick. Australian defamation laws prevent me from telling the whole story. Our wine is entirely different. Ecstasy 1® has the mystic synergy of very particular regional specialties.
It’s an unusual name for a wine? How did the name Ecstasy 1® eventuate?
Shane- we are so proud of the name. It came through extensive, thorough market trialling and numerous customer focus groups, all supported by our legal support partners. It was a labour of true love, reflecting our care and concern for our brand, and our customers. The aura and image of Ecstasy 1® is self-evident. The same degree of concern is also reflected in the label, which went through numerous creative design iterations with the collaboration of cutting-edge packaging supply consultants.
And the final result- Ecstasy 1® is something the entire creative team will remain proud of throughout their careers.
Will you be able to sell all the wine? How much was made?
Shane – we have pre-orders from a number of prominent business identities in several countries including Russia, China and the Americas, plus well known celebrities in show business- I must protect their privacy and not even hint at who they are. A very limited quantity of the wine was made, barely enough for a modest return on the firm’s lengthy investment, and hopefully enough to provide the opportunity for many people to try the wine.
I mentioned the samples – we haven’t determined the final price yet, but likely to be in the range of $88 to $100 depending on quantity, so very affordable. Each package comes with a certificate of authenticity, product disclaimer, DVD and PIN, download instructions, plus Youtube explanations.
How big are the samples?
Ivan – 5 ml each. This allows the best opportunity for as many people as possible to try our creation, and then I’m sure they will want more.
Shane- Purchasers of the samples will jump the queue and have a guaranteed opportunity to purchase an allocation of 1 bottle at our standard price, provided the sample is consumed within 1 month of purchase. They make an amazing gift. The ampoule is ISO certified.
Where can people purchase the wine?
Shane – we do not need the unnecessary supply chain distribution channel overhead of wholesalers, distributors and retailers. We are driven to keep the pricing affordable. We are negotiating with several exclusive luxury high-end retail boutiques which have the ability to showcase Ecstasy 1® in an appropriate environment. And naturally, our friendly and informative website, so our customers can have a very personal, individual relationship and customise their freight, insurance and gift options.
Ecstasy 1® will not be available through the usual, boring and superseded wine retail channels.
Your company isn’t well known – what can you tell us about its history?
Shane – it’s a private company, with some surprisingly well known people in the syndicate; we’ve been working in the background for years and this wine provided us with the opportunity to make a worldwide splash. It’s the culmination of our dreams ….well so far.
Are there other wines “in the pipeline”?
Ivan – we’d love to do it again, but it naturally depends on availability of very special grapes, and the presence of very special magic. We have been running continuous trials, but so far, my assistants and I have not yet found the appropriate conditions. But, we are confident that we will be able to equal, or surpass what we affectionately call “Blend 1”.
Shane –We need greater volumes, so our product can reach the large audience it deserves. In my years working for HIH, Enron, Qintex, Ansett, One.tel, Pyramid, and more recently with the Shane Warne Foundation, Dick Smith and the Essendon Football Club, we know market conditions can be tough. We expect a lot of envy from others in the wine industry, and jealousy about the calibre of our wine. We even expect tantrums, ridicule and criticism – but we are above that.
Ecstasy 1® is actually not Australia’s most expensive wine. Some wines in the secondary market have higher prices, but they are just relics, wines to collect because of their rarity – they will never be consumed, except by uncaring oligarchs and sycophantic wine writers.
Ecstasy 1® is certainly, and justifiably Australia’s most expensive new-release wine, and deserves its proven success. In hindsight, we wish we had set the price significantly higher, as we anticipate major problems in satisfying ongoing demand, due to limited stock.
Ivan and Shane -thank you for your time and insights into this magnificent achievement.
Please note, this article is satirical and entirely fictitious.