You will find plenty of cleanskin wines in Australia these days, but what does that mean?
This article pretty much tells you what you need to know.
But the gist is this: A real cleanskin is just a wine from a commercial winery that for any number of reasons does not want to sell it under their own label. You can expect to save about 30% off the normal price of these wines and can be good value. They show good regional differences and put the onus back on the drinker to say “I like this drink” or not without any label bias (you know, when people say x wine must be good because it is from y company).
Now why would a winery sell their product cheaper? Take your pick of things like:
– surplus wine from last year which they need to clear and they need cash flow and space for the next vintage.
– excess stock from bottling labelling runs.
– a producer is currently too small to have its own distributor/sales network or just needs some quick cash flow.
– it is a new wine from that producer, maybe an experiment, on which they are not yet confident to stamp with their own name.
– a cancelled export or airline contract left them with a load of wine and no buyer.
– the producer had cork problems, they got the insurance money from the cork producer as compensation and still had a load of wine sitting around they can’t sell under their label.
Re-capsuled, relabeled with the basic legal information regarding origin, grape variety, volume, alcohol content and some merchants address and you have a cleanskin.
Now, it is well know that Australia is currently swimming in a huge surplus of wine, many of lower quality. A good cleanskin dealer will have tried and selected only those which are of decent value.
However,a cleanskin from any of the big liquor retail chains (you know which ones I mean) is most likely not a “real” cleanskin at all. They are generally just contracted wines, branded as cleanskins and thus of no better quality than any other branded wine at that price. Buyer beware.
IN A NUTSHELL From a cleanskin dealer or wine specialist, you could save around 30% off that wines normal RRP in a lucky dip special.
My biggest problems are: 1) trying to find the same wine again if I like one and 2) just like any seconds product, wondering why somebody who knows more about wine than me thought this wasn’t good enough to sell under a label and 3) would I buy this wine normally If I knew who made it? If not than I could save 100% and just not buy it.