About the Australian wine industry
Australia’s wine industry dates back to the First Fleet. The first vineyard was planted in 1788, close to where the Sydney Harbour Bridge now stands. This agricultural success story now employs 30 000 Australians (ABS Census data) and contributes $5.5 billion to the nation's economy.
Australia is a wine export leader. The industry has well established markets in Europe and North America and is developing a foothold in key emerging markets including China, India and Russia.
For more information on the history of the Australian wine industry, visit the Australian Grape and Wine Authority website.
Note: the Australian Grape and Wine Authority commenced on 1 July 2014 and replaced the former Wine Australia Corporation and the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.
What the Australian Government does
Domestically, the government:
Internationally, the government:
Australia – European Community Agreement on Trade in Wine
On 1 December 2008, Australia and the European Community signed an international wine agreement. The agreement entered into force on 1 September 2010. The European Community is Australia’s largest export market.
Useful links and contacts
Information and contacts should you have any questions about the Australian wine industry.
Advice for wine exporters
The Australian Grape and Wine Authority is the Australian wine industry’s statutory research and development, marketing and regulatory body and is a good source of information on exporting wine (including the export approvals process, export fees and charges, wine labelling and marketing).
The Australian Government’s trade and investment development agency, Austrade, provides practical advice or assistance on exporting wine.
Exports of organic and biodynamic wines are subject to additional requirements under the Export Control Act 1982. For information about exporting wines with an organic or biodynamic claim, contact Biosecurity in Australia.
Wine industry research and development
The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) supports the Australian wine industry by setting strategic research priorities, establishing and managing research and development projects consistent with these priorities and facilitating the dissemination, adoption and commercialisation of research and development throughout the industry.
AGWA is funded by the grape research levy and the wine grapes levy. The Australian Government provides capped matching funds, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, for research and development.
Legislation and regulations that affect the wine industry
Food Standards relevant to the wine industry
Food Standards Australia-New Zealand (FSANZ) administers the Food Standards Code which provides for standards relating to health, safety and food and beverage industry requirements. The Code provides production requirements for Australian produced wine under standard 4.5.1. The Code also provides for a broader standard, standard 2.7.4, which provides standards for any wine sold in Australia, including imported products. Any inquiries about these standards, or the Food Standards code should be directed to FSANZ.
Levies collected for the wine industry
Levies are collected to fund marketing, research and development and plant health integrity for the Australian wine industry. The Australian Government provides capped matching funds, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, for research and development. There are currently three commonwealth levies or charges which apply to the Australian wine industry:
- the grape research levy
- the wine export charge
- the wine grapes levy.
These levies are collected and administered by the Australian Government on behalf of the industry. For more information visit www.agriculture.gov.au/levies.
Climate Change Research
The Australian Government is providing funding through the Australia’s Farming Future, Climate Change Research Program to a project which will deliver tools and strategies to help the wine industry adapt to a changing climate. Managed by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority, research already commissioned includes: evaluation of rootstocks, varieties and clones suited to a hotter climate; simulation of future vineyard conditions to inform management practices; and extension of knowledge and adaptation strategies for winegrape growers. Some of the results from this research may be applicable to other plant-based industries.
Environmental Accreditation Scheme
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) administers the EntWine environmental accreditation scheme for Australian wine producers. EntWine is a voluntary scheme that allows winemakers and wine grape growers to receive formal certification of their practices according to recognised standards.
Wine industry statistics
Wine Equalisation Tax and the Wine Equalisation Tax Rebate
The Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) is a tax applied at a rate of 29 per cent of the wholesale value of Australian and imported wines. The WET producer rebate scheme provides a rebate on the WET in certain circumstances. All inquires relating to taxation, including the WET and the WET producer rebate, should be referred to the Australian Taxation Office.
Technical advice for winemakers and winegrape growers
Advice on technical matters, such as planting, pruning or harvesting, are best directed to either the relevant State Government agricultural department or state industry body.
You can contact your State Government agricultural department at:
As the national peak bodies for the wine industry, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers’ Australia can also provide advice on winemaking and winegrape growing.
Australian Government Grants
The Australian Government offers a range of general industry grants that may be applicable to certain Australian wine producers, winegrape growers and exporters.
Information released under the FOI Act
The department has received a request for access to documents relating to the 2004 ‘Feet First’ Trade Marks case (TM 989416). In response, ten documents have been released under section 23(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
Documents 1 and 2 are publically available and were distributed at the Association Internationale des Juristes du Droit de la Vigne et tu Vin (International Wine Law Association) conference in the Barossa Valley in November 2009.
Document 3 has not been published under s11C(1)(b) of the FOI Act.