Wine Policy

About the Australian wine industry
What the Australian Government does
Australia – European Community Agreement on Trade in Wine
Useful links and contacts

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 agreementThe 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.

Wine industry research and development
Advice for wine exporters
Legislation and regulations that affect the wine industry
Food Standards relevant to the wine industry
Levies collected for the wine industry
Climate Change Research
Environmental Accreditation Scheme
Wine industry statistics
Wine Equalisation Tax and the Wine Equalisation Tax Rebate
Technical advice for winemakers and winegrape growers
Australian Government Grants

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 the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service.

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

The Australian wine industry is subject to a number of pieces of Commonwealth and State legislation. The legislation specific to the Australian wine industry is the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Act 2013  and the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Regulations 1981. These provide for, among other things, the Label Integrity Program and the Register of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms.

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:

  1. the grape research levy
  2. the wine export charge
  3. the wine grapes levy.

These levies are collected and administered by the Australian Government on behalf of the industry. For more information visit www.daff.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

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is the Australian Government economic research agency dedicated to primary industries and the quality of the Australian environment. ABARES releases a number of reports which contain useful information and analyses about the Australian wine industry. Of particular note for the wine industry is the annual ABARE Outlook publication.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases two key reports annually on the Australian wine industry:

  1. 1329.0 - Australian Wine and Grape Industry
  2. 8504.0 - Shipments of Wine and Brandy in Australia by Australian Winemakers and Importers.

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority provides a range of free and user-pays information, including export data, market intelligence and other general information for the Australian wine industry.

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia  produces an annual Vintage Report which provides the first national quantitative measure of the year’s vintage in June each year.

Wine Grape Growers’ Australia also releases ad hoc statistical reports relating to Australia’s winegrape growing industry.

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.