Perfect match with fish heads and peel
Somewhere in the US, perhaps at the Puente Hills landfill, America’s biggest rubbish dump that rises 150 metres into the air, or at one of New Jersey’s fabled landfills, up to $35 million worth of wine will be laid to rest along with fast food wrappers, food scraps and soiled nappies.
Such is the ignominious end for as much as 1 million bottles of wine from the Australian-based Treasury Wine Estates, owner of famous brands such as Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount. The wine has been stuck in US warehouses for months – maybe years – unable to find buyers.
The decision to pour the wine down the drain, or bury it in a landfill or squash it beneath a 10-tonne steamroller, was made by Treasury Wine Estates to help clear a bottleneck of unwanted wine in the US, its biggest market by sales, to make way for fresh stocks.
But wine fans fretting at the thought of expensive wine going down the drain should know that Treasury Wine Estates is destroying only its cheaper, commercial product, typically priced as low as $US5 ($5.50) in the US and with a limited shelf life before it turns.
Treasury Wine Estates is remaining tight-lipped about the brands of wines it will help its distributors dispose of to make room in their crammed warehouses, or the manner in which the wine will be returned to the earth whence it came.
However, it is believed most of the wine destined for the tip will be from Treasury Wine Estates’ flagship Californian vineyard Beringer, which makes wines such as ”Sledgehammer” that was pitched at men who liked bold reds. Other brands likely to be dumped include Little Penguin wine as well as Meridian.
It is not believed much of the company’s Australian-made wine now gathering dust in US warehouses will also be destroyed although wine analysts believe some out-of-date Lindeman’s might be culled.
Treasury Wine Estates chief executive David Dearie said the destruction of wine valued at up to $35 million was necessary to ensure stocks could be cleared so the winemaker could deliver fresh, quality wine to its customers. The winemaker will also provide $40 million worth of discounts and rebates to US middlemen to help support a fire sale of other unwanted stock.
In total Treasury Wine Estates will book a charge of $160 million against its 2012-13 financial accounts to restructure its US operations and cleanse the market of ageing stock.
Shares in the company, which was once an arm of brewing giant Foster’s, fell 12.2 per cent on the news yesterday.
Treasury Wine Estates has fielded calls from anxious wine lovers eager to take the unwanted stock off their hands, but alas it will be seagulls or New Jersey rats that will soon be gorging on the wine.