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 Wine Australia.
Domestically, the government:
- administers the Wine Australia Corporation Act 1980 and the Wine Australia Corporation Regulations 1981
- collects and distributes levies on behalf of the industry
- provides for research and development to be undertaken by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation to ensure the industry is competitive and sustainable
- works with winemakers and grape growers to address national policy matters relating to issues such as industry structure, taxation , health, natural resource management and the environment.
Internationally, the government:
- works with industry and other government agencies including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade to improve market access and trade conditions for Australian exporters
- engages with international organisations such as the World Trade Organization, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine and the World Wine Trade Group and
- establishes bilateral trade agreements such as the 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.
Information and contacts should you have any questions about the Australian wine industry.
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
Wine industry research and development
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
Wine Australia is the Australian wine industry’s statutory 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.
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 Wine Australia Corporation Act 1980 and the Wine Australia Corporation Regulations 1981. These provide for, among other things, the Label Integrity Program and the Register of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms.
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 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.daff.gov.au/levies.
The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) 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.
The GWRDC 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.
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 Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, 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.
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.
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:
- 1329.0 - Australian Wine and Grape Industry
- 8504.0 - Shipments of Wine and Brandy in Australia by Australian Winemakers and Importers.
Wine Australia 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.
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.
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:
- New South Wales Government Department of Primary Industries
- Queensland Government Department of Primary Industries
- Primary Industries and Resources South Australia
o Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia
- Tasmanian Government Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
- Victorian Government Department of Primary Industries
- Western Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Food
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.
The Australian Government offers a range of general industry grants that may be applicable to certain Australian wine producers, winegrape growers and exporters.
22 Feb 2012