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Australia's Novel Merchandising Idea (October 15, 2003)

Economic factors have caused a wine glut in Australia. A combination of overplanting vineyards, the rising Australian dollar and over-zealous pricing by wineries who receive a perfect 100-score from Robert Parker has created a serious problem for the wine industry. The growing wine lake has forced producers to adopt a new way of selling wines downunder. Wineries are dumping products they cannot sell under a system they call "cleanskins" – anonymous wines without labels that must be purchased by the dozen.

One of the largest internet companies involved in this business call themselves Cleanskin Kings (www.ckdirect.com.au). They advertise themselves as being "dedicated to offering quality wines, from Australia's finest regions, at affordable prices." A cleanskin wine, they say, takes the pretension out of "label drinking" and emphasizes the value and quality of that wine. The advantage of a cleanskin is the reduced price by taking away the marketing, design, labelling and distribution costs and the savings passed onto you, the customer. "Why pay for the label?" they say. "Cleanskin Kings can offer you a wine of equal quality for around half the cost of labelled wine." You don't know what the wine is or who produced it; all you know is its colour and which region it comes from. If you're lucky, the producer's name will be branded on the cork. To give you an idea of the savings, wines that retail for $27.95 are sold as cleanskins for $11.95.

 

 

 

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