By Amy Looker

What happens when you pair an Australian Shiraz with a hugely popular, cutting-edge Japanese Manga comic

Skyrocketing wine sales might not be the most obvious answer, but that’s exactly what’s happened for d’Arenberg’s 2006 The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier.

Taking product placement to a new level, the McLaren Vale wine found itself the recent star of best-selling Manga series ‘The Drops of God’, a comic book series that follows the story of Kanzaki Shizuku, the son of a recently deceased wine critic who is in competition with his father’s adopted son to inherit their father’s extensive wine cellar.

Both young men must search the world for the wines their father deemed ‘The 12 Apostles’, with Shizuku’s search bringing him to Australia where he discovers The Laughing Magpie.

In the comic, Shizuku is surprised to discover the screw-capped wine to be “spicy and overflowing with energetic life.”

He also says that he “didn’t expect much from a wine under screwcap” before declaring The Laughing Magpie a wine that is “both exotic and made for normal people at the same time” and deciding to stock it in his wine shop back home in Japan.

This nod of approval from a fictional Manga character has driven sales of The Laughing Magpie through the roof in Japan, with d’Arenberg’s general manager of sales and marketing, Ric Anderson, explaining that orders for the 2006 vintage increasing even before the comic was released.

“Unfortunately, not all orders have been able to be fulfilled as The Laughing Magpie is very popular and demand exceeds supply. This fantastic exposure in Japan ran us out of the 2006 vintage very quickly, prompting the early release of the 2007 in Japan.”

Until now, ‘The Drops of God’ series has only featured Old World wines.

“It’s very pleasing from a branding perspective for d’Arenberg and the Australian wine industry in general because so far the comic has featured mainly European wines. It is providing a brand new way for people to connect with wine, so it’s great to be included,” said Anderson.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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