Monday, December 4, 2017

CLEANSKINS (2)


It's CLEANSKINS 2 because some years ago I wrote a post Cleanskins:





Not a lot has changed in regard to Cleanskins. The wine industries in Australia and New Zealand have vintage yield variations from year to year and supply demand changes which can lead to either gluts or shortages.

Cleanskins usually are the excess from wineries. From time to time wine producers have a surplus of some wines where their sales orders don't use up what they have in tanks and, with a new vintage looming they need to move the wine out quickly. When this happens the marketers worry about the bastardisation (erosion) of the retail price or perceived value and would prefer to hide the fact that their XYZ label is now (temporarily) cheaper. If the wine is already bottled with a label then the option is to use an on-line retailer and sell their wine that way (not to be on a retail shelf) and often advertised as a 'Mystery' wine. If the wine is bottled but not labelled or still in tank waiting to be bottled the temptation is to move it along as a cleanskin.


Not all cleanskin wine is ordinary. when I was in the industry I used to buy and sell cleanskins. Once I negotiated the purchase of a cleanskin wine from a winery that was in financial difficulty and needed cash flow. We put our label on it and submitted to a national wine show where it won gold medal and the trophy for its varietal. The producers were pissed off as if they had had the confidence (or the cashflow) to label it and submit it themselves to the show, the consumer interest in a trophy-winning wine would have meant they would gave got five times or more the return.




The problem is that sometimes the vintages are large and there is a lot of wine washing about and sometimes the vintage is small and wine is at a premium. Sometimes there is great demand for wine from a particular country of origin or region or wine type or varietal and sometimes the buyers and consumers move on to something else. The supply and demand ratio moves.

A winery can create a demand for their 'cleanskin' wine to the detriment of their (same wine) labelled product for which they should be able to sell at a higher price. The result is the creation of cleanskin 'brands'.

These 'cleanskins' since they are produced every year might as well be brands and often to all appearances are although they just list the varietal name.



When this happens the likelihood of the wine being an outstanding example that has only been sold as 'cleanskin' because the producer had too much of it to market under his own brand name becomes a lot less. To satisfy the demand for this cleanskin it is more likely that the producer  outsources bulk wine from elsewhere or even plans production early in the vintage year by growing high-cropping material that doesn't get all the important inputs normally associated with making good wine - why bother when you know that it's going to be sold cheaply as 'cleanskin'.


In summary, buying cleanskins is a bit of a lottery. Sometimes you could be getting a very good example of say a chardonnay at a knock down price or you could be getting a cheaply made chardonnay that, due to the low input manner of production is only worth what you are paying. It's buyer beware.

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Richard (of RBB) used to look at cleanskins with disdain (see his comment in my earlier post CLEANSKIN above). Now he's strongly advocating the stuff.

I think that he's just got a taste for the cheap stuff now that he's retired.





3 comments:

Robert said...

I get it! It's like following a saint.
The Vatican might just be endorsing someone because there is nothing else available.
The public need a saint every now and then.
Though I could be wrong.

THE CURMUDGEON said...

You get it?

Here's a thought - why not read at least every second word in the posts. It might not lead to complete understanding but I'm sure that it'll help.

Richard (of RBB) said...

This sounds like a Cleanskin discussion between you two boys. Behave yourselves, the night is young.