Every wine cask (bag in box) has a silver lining. At least for wine drinkers.
You can more or less judge the state of the Australian wine industry by the quality of wine available in casks. When cask wine is generally crap, it’s bad for consumers and means the industry is making a packet, selling all it produces across the price spectrum.
When cask wine is good, like now, it indicates that wine makers and exporters are taking a beating and selling at bargain prices. Consumers love it.
By way of illustration, recently I bought two flavoursome cask wines, the two litre Yalumba 2008 riesling for $12, and from New Zealand, the Dimension two litre Marlborough sauvignon blanc for under $15. I suggest that in times of wine shortage, both these wines would have entered the market in bottles, at a significantly higher price.
Why the cheap wine? Currently, due to over-planting and bountiful harvests, there’s too much wine of all sorts available in Australia. Similarly, in New Zealand, they’re swimming in sauvignon blanc.
And, if a wine glut is not enough, now we read that the Australian dollar is worth 50 per cent more than it was a year ago. In simple terms, this means that Australian wines cost a lot more overseas. See for example, Soaring dollar knocks the froth off Foster’s: Exports and Wine exports increase but values decline.
The trickledown effect from a poor wine export market, combined with the wine glut, means that in the short term at least, drinkers of cask wine (not to mention cleanskins) are in for a treat.
But that’s not all. As the Oz dollar climbs, imports gradually become cheaper. Last week I bought a bottle of Piper Heidsieck NV for the bargain price of $33.