Unsteady Forklift Smashes $1 Million Worth of Wine, and a Nation Mourns

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Imagine this scene, multiplied by 5,532.

This is one spill that’s won’t be rubbed out easily. 

That’s because this was no bottom-shelf wine. 462 cases of Australian wine, each bottle valued at $185 Australian dollars (about $200), fell 20 feet off a forklift as it was being loaded onto a ship Thursday.

Only one case of the 2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove shiraz survived the drop, with the other 461 – a total of 5,532 bottles of the primo vino – smashing onto the Adelaide wharf. The loss totals more than AUD$1 million for Australian winemaker Sparky Marquis.

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Marquis said that he was “gut-wrenched” and “numb” after receiving the call that one-third of his yearly output had landed in a pile of glass shards. “It was like a murder scene. There was red everywhere,” Marquis said. In fact, he had hoped it was a hoax until he arrived at the scene, Adelaide’s Advertiser newspaper reported.

If there were one comfort, it’s that he’ll be able to recoup his costs thanks to insurance. But Marquis was clear that the implications would be far-reaching. The Mollydooker wine that ended in puddles on the pier was the Velvet Glove vintage’s first foray into the U.S. market – the wine’s launch in the Western hemisphere is now in jeopardy.

Perhaps this is one spill worth crying over.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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