Bottoms up is one thing - this is going to extremes

Eli Greenblat

Somewhere in the US, up to $35 million worth of wine will be laid to rest along with fast-food wrappers, food scraps and soiled nappies.

Such is the ignominious end for as much as 1 million bottles of wine created by Treasury Wine Estates, the Australian winemaker that owns brands such as Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount, and which has been stuck in warehouses across the US for months - and maybe years - unable to find buyers.

The decision to pour the wine down the drain, bury it in a landfill or squash it beneath a 10-tonne steamroller, has been made by Treasury Wine Estates to help clear a bottleneck of unwanted wine currently sitting in the US - its biggest market by sales - and allow fresh wine to be put through the system.

But before wine fans fret, the company is only destroying its cheaper, commercial wine, typically priced as low as $US5 ($5.50) in the US and which has a limited shelf life before it turns.

The company won't say which brands it will help its distributors to get rid of or the manner in which the wine will be returned to the earth from whence it came.

However, it is believed the bulk will be from the flagship Californian vineyard Beringer, which makes wines such as the ''Sledgehammer'' brand - pitched at men who liked bold reds.

Other brands likely to be dumped include ''Little Penguin'' wine as well as ''Meridian''.

It is not believed much of the company's Australian-made wine still gathering dust in US warehouses will also be destroyed, although wine analysts believe some out-of-date Lindeman's might be culled.