When’s a good time to buy Australian wine? Now. And hurry.

by Ed O'Reilly on 4 October 2007 comments
Photo: Wine Bottles

When I first moved to Australia I noticed 2 things about the wine: there was a lot to choose from, and it costs twice as much (if not more) than the exact same Australian wine brands I’d bought back in NY. The selection is mostly a great variety from Australian and New Zealand vineyards, and the price is largely due to taxes. Thankfully, because of a glut in production, there was good wine to be found at a more reasonable price in cleanskins .

But now it looks like the days of the $7 bottle of wine are drying up.

Last week, I spent a few days in the Southern Highlands, where I tasted some excellent wine at the Blue Metal Vineyard. There, I talked to Chris about their wines and the state of how the years of hot, dry weather has affected both the quality and quantity of Australian wine, and also what the coming year will be like.

The drought has badly affected, among many things, the wine grape harvest, and there is speculation that the 2008 yield could be less than half the normal volume. This, naturally, puts vineyards in a position to better control (i.e raise) prices. But besides the expected price hike, it means that those tasty cleanskins will be unavailable.

“I like to think about the life of wine. How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity.”
- From “Sideways

According to the Australian government, cleanskins are not available for export, so for my Australian mates: stock up now, while the cleanskins are still on the shelves. And for my International friends: you might want to grab a few Aussie favorites from your local bottle shop and hang on to them, as prices are expected to soar.

And despite the disappointing news about the 2008 wines, Chris assured me that Blue Metal won’t be raising their prices. Good on ya, Chris!

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