We’ve prised open the door of our Secret Cellar to get an early jump on the Black Friday sales mania this week.

Four truly exceptional wines are up for grabs: an opulent 97-point Barossa shiraz that normally sells for $150 a bottle, a 96-point Victorian cabernet that epitomises elegance; a high-class shiraz-cabernet from a five-star Clare winery and an old vine grenache loaded with exotic charm.

Put these reds on any table over the festive season and you’ll be celebrating in high style.

As members of The Australian Wine Club know, the Secret Cellar has become our most popular offer and is often sold out.

Collectively, this Secret Cellar dozen is worth more than $1000. The average bottle price of the wines is just over $79. The Secret Cellar brings them to your home for $30 a bottle.

Of course, with a deal such as this, there is a catch: we can’t tell you the names of these super-premium wines to protect their normal price points.

But the risk is not as great as you may think – if you don’t like what you receive, we’ll refund your order. No questions asked.

The Secret Cellar was launched two years ago as a way for wineries to sell stock cheaply – and quietly – to keep their operations ticking over in the wake of Beijing’s decision to impose crippling tariffs. The export freeze has wiped away more than $1bn of wine sales to China each year, creating a supply glut here and putting wineries under immense pressure to clear stock.

Throw in the impact of Covid-19, which shut down restaurants and bars across the nation, as well as the impact of rising interest rates on household budgets, and you can see why wineries are under the pump.

We hope there’s an end of the China export freeze very soon but it will take years for our wine industry to recover.

To bring a bit of joy amid this perfect storm, The Australian Wine Club organised a tasting extravaganza in Sydney last week, bringing together almost 400 wine lovers and 24 winemakers for an evening of wine magic.

“It was epic,” Howard Vineyards winemaker Tom Northcott said as he headed back to the Adelaide Hills after the tasting.

As photos from the evening show, wine is all about having a little bit of fun with friends. That’s not hard when the wines are both brilliant and affordable.

Here’s what popped out of the Secret Cellar.

Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016

Strikes the opulent, velvety notes you’d expect from a $150 Barossa shiraz. Sweet vanilla fragrances swirl with damson plums and cinnamon spice. Open the door to a world of concentrated dark fruits, flecked with dark chocolate, spice. Hint of meaty savouriness and olives on the back palate, with mellow tannins floating to a long lingering finish. Drinking superbly seven years into its life. 97 points from Wine Orbit. 14.5 per cent alc; RRP $150 a bottle.

SPECIAL $30 a bottle in Secret Cellar dozen only.

Victorian Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Intense aromas of blackcurrants, mulberry and vanilla offer a sweetly scented draw card. Lavish fruits pour forth: ripe blackcurrants, blueberry, cassis, with waves of vanilla cream and mocha adding to a velvety drinking experience. Beautifully balanced but with structure and elegance. Pure class. 96 points from Team Halliday. 14 per cent alc; RRP $60 a bottle.

SPECIALS $30 a bottle in Secret Cellar dozen only.

Clare Valley Shiraz Cabernet 2020

Produced by one of the best wineries in Clare Valley. Lifted aromas of blueberries and mulberries waft with hints of choc-mint and pepper. Silky texture weaves a web of generous blue fruits, fresh mint, cloves and polished cedar. Basket pressed and matured in French oak for 16 months. 94 points from Team Halliday. 14.5 per cent alc; RRP $55 a bottle.

SPECIAL $30 a bottle in Secret Cellar dozen only.

McLaren Vale Grenache 2018

From old bush vines comes this exotic grenache, drawing you in with heady aromas of plum and spice, vanilla and violets. Black plums and sour cherries flow across the palate, with hints of orange zest, aniseed and pepper. Fine and dusty tannins. Full and luxuriously styled. Only made in the best vintages. 96 points from Wine Orbit; 93 points from Team Halliday. Roll out Chinese spice pork ribs for a decadent evening. 14.5 per cent alc; RRP $70 a bottle.

SPECIAL $30 a bottle in Secret Cellar dozen only.

SECRET CELLAR DEAL Three bottles of each wine above for $30 a bottle. SAVE $645 a dozen.

Order by simply clicking the links to our online store or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm AEST. Deals are available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine, LIQP770016550. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.