Stricter wine labelling practices to be introduced

New legislation introduced in Parliament this week will establish a wine export label directory which will help protect Australia’s wine industry as Australia looks to maintain its status as a world-class wine producer.

The Wine Australia Amendment (Label Directory) Bill 2019 was introduced in Parliament on Monday and will help Australian wine brands protect their intellectual property rights from those misappropriating their intellectual property.

Under the Bill, businesses will be able to identify copy-cat brands and infringements of their intellectual property via the Australian Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory.

Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine Incorporated (Australian Grape & Wine) Tony Battaglene said that despite Australia’s status as a leading wine producer, counterfeits were damaging the industry’s global reputation.

 Australia is a global wine export powerhouse, with a growing number of brands sitting in the upper-echelon of fine wines internationally

Tony Battaglene, Australian Grape & Wine

“However, as Australia’s fine-wine reputation has grown, so has the risk of fraud through intellectual property theft or passing-off. Australian wine business owners have needed to take additional steps to protect their brands and intellectual property in overseas markets, and increasingly, to invest in protection in Australia as well.”

“This protection is costly and time consuming for businesses, but the potential for damage to Australia’s wine brand overseas means this action is necessary. “

Mr Battaglene welcomed Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie’s backing of the bill and said that he expected bi-partison support for the critical piece of legislation.

Minister McKenzie said that building Australia’s reputation as a producer of premium wine was crucial to building agriculture for the future.

“Strengthening Australia’s reputation as a producer of premium wines helps secure jobs in an industry that directly employs more than 69,000 people often in rural and regional areas,” said Ms McKenzie.

“Our Government is supporting the development of the Label Directory through $417,000 in funding from the Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

The Australian wine industry produces some of the best product in the world and is a key sector if we’re to grow our agricultural industries to be worth $100 billion by 2030.

Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Agriculture

Wine Australia will be responsible for establishing the Directory which will require all Australian wine exporters to submit images of their labels prior to gaining export approval, and will allow Australian wine businesses and exporters to search for products which may breach their intellectual property.

In cases where a businesses is identified as seeking to imitate a legitimate brand owner’s intellectual property, this business could be stripped of their export license by Wine Australia, in addition to the brand owner taking private legal action. 

The Directory will be built into Wine Australia’s upcoming Wine Australia Licensing and Approval System by December 2020.



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