Australasian wine glut: an opportunity for the frugal tippler?

January 25, 2009

It seems that the good stuff (and indeed the bad stuff) is cheaper than it has been for some time.

Massive grape harvests on both sides of the Tasman last year, the prospect of equally big harvests this year, and a softening of international demand due to the weakening world economy mean winemakers are having to slash prices to clear stock.
Simon Templeton, the wine buyer for liquor chain The Mill Liquorsave, said the deals the company was being offered were “the sharpest in history”.

He estimated the average price the chain was paying for wine was down by about a third on a year ago.

A typical Marlborough sauvignon blanc which would have been a good special last year at $9.99 was selling for $6.99 this year through the company’s internet wine store vineonline. co.nz.


I suppose a really frugal person wouldn’t drink at all, but I find my quality of life is improved by modest consumption to a wholly justifiable degree. As a matter of interest, where do you heavy drinkers go for the best price/quality ratio?



  1. I simply have a list of “stuff I like” and buy whatever is on it which is on special. That, plus space to stick it in means I can minimise my costs.

    Alternatively, wine is cheaper if you buy it by the case direct from the vinyard. But that’s not the big discounts they’re talking about here, I fear.

  2. I/S’s method is pretty reliable.

    Cleanskins by the box works for me – I’ve picked up fairly reasonable wines at wonderful prices this way. And better wines at reasonable prices. Auctionhouse clearances are also worth watching out for, as the same deal applies.

    Of course, if you’re going to buy a dozen of something, you’re best to try a single bottle first to see whether you like it.

    I do feel sorry for the winemakers however, and particularly the grape-growers. My brother is in the industry, and I know that the profit margins on cheaper wines tend to be very slim, especially in a bad year when they start to slip into the negative.

  3. “wine is cheaper if you buy it by the case direct from the vinyard”

    I’ve never found wine from the vineyard to be markedly cheaper, and unless I’m passing through, the petrol cost would outweigh the saving, I think. Is there a particular vineyard you have in mind?

  4. Stephen: the trick is getting on their mailing list. Most vinyards take internet orders, and offer fairly good discounts to their email subscribers. These more than outweigh the freight cost, and you get stuff you can’t get in Pak n Save.

    OTOH, for weekly drinking, the rotating list, but what’s cheap method is best.

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