Mollydooker of McLaren Vale was created in 2005 by the husband-and-wife winemaking team of Sarah and Sparky Marquis, who are Australia’s first couple of winemaking. Before starting their own label the pair made award-winning wine for Australian producers including Fox Creek, Henry’s Drive, Shirvington, Marquis Philips and others. Since 2005 the Marquis team has focused entirely on making their own exuberant wines, which include a variety of Shiraz/Cab/Merlot blends, as well as adventuresome white wines, such as Verdelho. The 116-acre winery is in McLaren Vale and almost 50 percent of the vineyards are planted to Shiraz, with the rest made up of Cabernet, Merlot, Semillon and Chardonnay. The distinctive and often humorous names and labels of the wines belie the fact that the mostly modestly-priced Mollydookers are often highly rated. The term Mollydooker itself is slang for left-handed in Australia. Both Sarah and Sparky Marquis are left-handed, hence the name.
South Australia is the nation’s most important wine region. South Australia is to Australia what California is to the U.S. About half of Australia’s wine comes from South Australia and many of the country’s most acclaimed producers are there. Wineries based in South Australia include Penfolds Grange, Torbreck, Amon Ra, Henschke and Jacob’s Creek. The prestigious Barossa Valley is located in South Australia, and is often compared to Napa Valley because it is gorgeous topography covered in grape vines. First farmed by 19th century German-speakers who immigrated from what is now Poland, the Barossa Valley is the crown jewel of the region. South Australia has widely varying climates, from very hot, dry areas to cooler, high altitude areas. There are more than 150,000 acres of vineyards in South Australia, with more being planted each month. Shiraz is king, though the region also produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Chardonnay and Semillon.