Mollydooker is Back

/ Updated on December 5, 2014

Our customers love Mollydooker wines, and so do we. So we brought back five of them! The wine has a great back-story, and it's the story of Sarah and Sparky. Bear with me. You're gonna love it.

Once upon a time, Sparky Marquis was a successful professional photographer when his dad lined up the 5 kids in the family and told them that if any of them were prepared to learn winemaking or viticulture that they would inherit his award-winning vineyard and winery. Sparky’s sister jumped at it, but the boys scattered. But then Sparky remembered how much he liked drinking wine and came rushing back. But his dad’s hopes and plans came to nothing, because in Sparky’s second year Sarah Watts walked onto campus. She was beautiful, sporty, fun loving, artistic and clever. Next day Sparky was on the phone to his dad to say that he had just seen the girl that he was going to marry, and he would never be coming home! It took him four years to persuade Sarah that marrying him was a good idea.

While waiting, he researched for his thesis on canopy management, and won every prize and trophy each year of the course. Meanwhile, Sarah, whose license plate is ‘HAVNFUN’, did just that. She partied, played sports and traveled. When they married in 1991 they had $1000 between them, and big dreams of developing their own business, succeeding in a career they were both passionate about, helping other people, and having fun. They started work as winemakers with Sarah’s parents at Fox Creek. They built a winery, introduced their Vineyard Watering Program in the vineyards so that they got exceptional fruit, and devoted long hours to perfecting their winemaking. The day after receiving the winery license they won the McLaren Vale Bushing King and Queen Trophy for Best Wine in Show. Since then they have won the Bushing two more times, and have been Australian Boutique Winemakers of the Year, and Australian White Winemakers of the Year.

After two years they found they needed help, and asked Sparky’s mom and dad to sell up and join them. Unfortunately the next vintage was the year of the huge grape surplus. Sarah and Sparky had red wines to sell, but the market wanted Chardonnay. Wine that had sold the previous year for $7 a litre fetched 25 cents a litre. They promptly lost all the money they had made in the previous two years. They didn’t want to become corporate, and they didn’t want to compromise on quality. They decided to go it alone and stay small and hands-on. They reasoned that they had started with $1000, so they could do it again if they had to. Everyone rallied round to help. Staff offered to take a salary drop, growers offered to take late payments, and suppliers offered extended terms. Both families mortgaged everything and chipped in. In March 2006 they named their new brand Mollydooker – Aussie for left hander – because they are both left handed. Two weeks later they were down to $17 in the bank. It was scary. They had always been a cash company. Their motto had been, if you can’t pay on time, pay early. Now that was impossible. They couldn’t even afford to label the wine. And then a miracle happened. A local businessman walked in the door and said he had heard that they may be in trouble, He asked to know the story. Half an hour later he walked out the door on his way to a month’s holiday. Sparky stood, tears pouring down his cheeks, holding a check for enough money to enable them to survive.

Three months later, The Wine Advocate chose The Boxer as the Best Value Red Wine in the World, the Two Left Feet as the second, and the Maitre D’ as the fourth. The Violinist was chosen the Best Value White Wine in the world. The wines sold out in nineteen days, and all the debts were paid off. Sarah and Sparky now have more wines of 94 Parker points and above than any other winemakers in the world, The Velvet Glove is the fifth wine of theirs to be awarded 99 points, the Carnival of Love has twice been in the Wine Spectator’s Top Ten wines in the World, the Blue Eyed Boy is featured in Morton’s Steak Houses, and the demand for The Boxer is so huge that in 2011 it had its own special release day. A mere eighteen months after being down to their last $17, Sarah and Sparky were able to buy a beautiful property with stunning views, a winery, and 114 acres of vineyards on the magic Seaview Ridge in McLaren Vale, home of most of the iconic McLaren Vale wines. (Last month’s Dead Arm and Laughing Magpie hail from the same appellation.) Sarah has been able to indulge her artistic flair. She designed the quirky Lefty labels, the Party labels featuring their kids Luke and Holly, the romantic Carnival of Love and Enchanted Path, and the elegant Velvet Glove (for which she received the Australian Packaging Award). Sarah and Sparky have never forgotten how they were helped when they were in need, and they developed and fund two Mollydooker Houses in Cambodia that school and feed 200 children and their families, and have started on a third. They also support Chester County Futures in PA, providing education for underprivileged children; Mercy Ministries in the U.S., helping abused girls; and Into the Blue in Australia, providing work opportunities for aboriginal traditional landowners.

At Teller, we have the Maitre D’ – an aromatic & intense Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark cherry, currant and jam on the nose. A long finish with integrated tannins make this ready to enjoy today but structured to age gracefully for 10+ years. The Violinist  has kept the fresh vibrant fruit taste like it had the night the grapes were first picked. Citrus, pear and tropical fruits snare the senses and bring a creamy texture to the mouth. Made from Verdelho grapes, so named for Sarah and Sparky’s daughter. The Boxer is a rich, smooth, and powerful Shiraz. Succulent berry flavors with luscious chocolate layers as well as licorice and spice and everything nice. Fragrant oak supports the fruit leading to rounded balance of tannins. Two Left Feet is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This combination creates great complexity but also great length. Mocha and spice are the lingering flavors after firm tannins tickle your palate. The Scooter is 100% Merlot. Cherry and plum on the nose. Racy acid that brightens the fruit. Soft and supple tannins. Named for Sparky who used to race 30 km on a big tire scooter. May we all live happily after sipping on these wonderful wines! [We also have the Velvet Glove and Blue-Eyed Boy in the Dometic.]

Check out their cute website here, then drop in to Teller Wines to get the real thing.

Catherine Hester

About the Author

co-owner of Teller Wines in Lewes, DE with her husband Kevin, is a world traveler and shares their adventures at various wineries while offering thoughts on why she and Kevin order particular wines for their customers. Learn more about the Hesters by clicking here. View all articles written by Catherine Hester

Add Your Comment
  1. Avatar Catrina Sharp says:

    Can’t wait to check them out! I’m not sure which one I would like – I guess I’ll have to try them all. Wine not 🙂

Add Your Comment

What would you like to do?