Cleanskins - are they still a good buy?

This is really the gossip part of the blog, where we can rave about the latest and greatest or diss whatever in the wine industry is really bugging us right now. With a topic as subjective as wine, there is always going to be plenty of contentious issues so lets talk about them. The wine glut the Australian wine industry found itself in a couple of year ago led to enormous volumes of wine pouring out into the marketplace, often at incredibly cheap prices which barely covered their production costs. A significant proportion of that wine went into the cleanskin market and generated excellent value for money for many consumers. In more recent years, disasterous climatic conditions have brought the oversupply of wine under control, with drought, bushfires and hail reducing wine production volumes. As a consequence, less high quality wine is being fed into the cleanskin market, and it is returning to its original intention as a means for selling wine that frequently doesn't meet quality standards to be labelled under the winery brand. Many consumers continue to use cleanskin outlets to purchase low cost wine however they are now experiencing lower quality wines than previously. Cleanskin wine is frequently sold in case lots rather than single bottles, and is often sold without a tasting opportunity depending on the outlet, so consumers run the risk of being lumped with a case or very average wine with little or no recourse.

A more reliable means of buying cheap wine which is actually drinkable is to get to know and understand the wine brands and varieties that represent value for money, then looking for ways to buy them cheaply. Many bottle shops offer great specials, so it is worth dropping into your local on a regular basis to see what's on offer. Joining wine clubs and purchasing wine directly from the winery can provide excellent deals. Many wine clubs offer large percentage discounts to wine club members which make the wines available at comparable prices to cleanskin outlets but with a quality guarantee.