When marketing goes over the top and becomes grotesque: Penfolds’ “The Ampoule”

The £100,000 wine bottle now for sale

In marketing you can find a lot of very strange and curious ideas, not least in the wine sector since wine marketing is very restricted in most countries. But the latest idea from Penfolds must be high up on the list among the most silly things and most over the top ideas. Or have I become too sensitive?

Penfold's Ampoule

Penfold's Ampoule

Penfolds has just launched something they call “The Ampoule”. It is a wine bottle, or perhaps an “glass ampoule”, filled with wine that at the same time is labelled as a “work of art”. They will make twelve of these “bottles”. The wine inside is Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. When the buyer of one of these items wants to drink the wine a winemaker from Penfolds will jet to his location to open the ampoule and serve the wine.

The price for a bottle, an ampoule, is A$168 000 (around £100 000).

From their press information:

“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.”

This is of course not much more than a simple gimmick to get the worlds media to talk about Penfolds. Which they have been very successful in doing. Not only BKWine Magazine have gone for it but also many others in the international wine media. And that they will be netting perhaps a million euros from the sale can’t hurt either. But it is a little difficult to see how this rhymes with today’s environmentally conscious wine making practices. Can’t help wondering how carbon neutral these twelve bottles will be once they have been consumed?

And, personally, it is also doubtful if I will be much tempted by another bottle of Penfolds when I can’t help thinking about this gimmick from their marketing people.

(It’s curious to note that official media release is in Chinese for the Ampoule.)

What do you think? Write a comment!

This post is also available in: Swedish

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  1. Wine marketing or luxury silliness: Penfolds’ The Ampoule | BKWine Magazine - August 21, 2012

    […] our full commentary here: When marketing goes over the top and becomes grotesque: Penfolds’ “The Ampoule” Penfold’s Ampoule /* Australia, business, marketing, silly ← Should […]

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