Osama bin Laden wine label launched

Moorilla Estate pushes the boundaries

By Robyn Lewis
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The Source Restaurant at Moorilla Winery

The Source Restaurant at Moorilla Winery

The Ether Building at Moorilla Estate, Hobart, Tasmania includes The Source Restaurant.


I never thought I'd see the name Osama bin Laden on a wine label. Despite the myth that the shiraz (syrah) grape reputedly originated in what is now Iran, the Middle East and (most of) those who follow its predominant religion of Islam, no longer drink wine.

Forget the fact that alcohol is originally an Arabic word "al-guhl" - meaning 'the spirit' - wine and Osama don't go together. Until now.

Moorilla's new winemaker, Conor van der Reest, is reported to be behind the idea, which he says originates in street art (not from Elizabeth Street in Hobart, presumably). The stencil image of bin Laden holding a ghetto blaster (another ironical twist, Western music also being banned by devout Muslims) is adjacent to a graffiti message "all you need is love".

Yes, love is all you need - just ask John Lennon. van der Reest might like to pick up Salman Rushdie's bullet-proof vest on eBay, perhaps. Or maybe for David Walsh, not known for restraint - but no coward, either.

Actually, it would make a good museum exhibit in itself, for Walsh's Museum of of Old and New Art (MONA), which promises "some of the most challenging art in the world" when it opens its doors again in 2011. And either would be the first candidate for a fatwah in Tasmania.

The label adorns the new Moorilla label Praxis, which Wikipedia informs me is "the process of putting theoretical knowledge into practice", or "a fictional planetary body in the Star Trek universe", "a genus of moth in the subfamily Calpinae", or "one of the names of Aphrodite in Greek mythology".

Knowing Walsh as I do, all four could apply, but if pressed to choose I'd punt for Aphrodite - goddess of love, surely a pin-up girl of Osama's, too. (Osama has somewhere between 12 and 26 known children, to four wives - omitting progeny of any Afghan harem he may have accumulated in the meantime).

Another new Moorilla label features the infamous image of hooded torture in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. I have yet to taste the the wines to know if they have any semblance to either torture or love, although I found the sex-and-death themed Muse label somewhat disappointing on the palate, if not visually.

Perhaps I am in for another surprise.


Robyn Lewis was the inaugual Curator of Moorilla Museum of Antiquities.









  • Hobart (TAS)
  • Southern Tasmania (TAS)

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February 09th, 2009
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