The Penfolds Ampoule Project is the ultimate reflection of winemaking heritage, innovation and artistic collaboration delivering a ground breaking work of art encapsulating a rare and significant wine and resulting in a unique work of art that is both beautiful and provocative.
The glass sculpture was designed and hand-blown by Nick Mount, an internationally recognized glass artist. To encase the ampoule, Nick has designed and hand blown a conical, elongated plumb-bob of transparent grey glass with a ruby red ‘cotton-reel’ top. The plumb-bob is suspended in a bespoke Jarrah cabinet, with the ampoule held securely at its core.
Prominent Australian designer-maker Hendrik Forster prepared all the precious metal detailing. Furniture craftsman Andrew Bartlett designed and made the bespoke Jarrah cabinet, where the ampoule is suspended. The scientific–grade ampoule, designed to store the wine in an ideal environment, and encased within the glass sculpture, was created by veteran scientific glassblower Ray Leake.
The passion and technical skill of blowing glass by hand; the painstaking hours of crafting and refining a perfectly mitred cabinet; the clockwork precision of mechanisms and metal fixtures made from precious metals: these time-honoured artisan skills have created a fitting time capsule for an extraordinary wine. The wine contained within the ampoule, first released in the 1950s, holds a particular significance among generations of Australian and international wine collectors. Deeply connected to Australian wine culture, each release has in a way represented a point in the progress of the modern Australian wine industry.
With only twelve handmade vessels in existence (each individually numbered), the Penfolds Ampoule is testament to the respect that Penfolds has not only for fine wine, but for its South Australian heritage and the skills of the region’s finest artists and craftsmen, four of whom were commissioned to collaborate with the winemaking team on this distinctive project. Together they have crafted a beautiful, thoughtful, unique objet d’art, designed to store wine in an ideal environment. Each Ampoule is accompanied by a unique ‘Making Of’ booklet and Certificate of Ownership & Authenticity signed by Chief Winemaker Peter Gago and all contributing artists.
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.