Top Five Points about WET Reform

The new WET legislation will be enacted from the 2018 vintage, so wine producers need to be aware of their obligations now.

South Australian wine industry legal specialists, Finlaysons, have identified the key issues around the reform which are summarised below:

1.     New eligibility criteria for claiming producer rebates and new quoting/WET credit rules will apply to the 2018 vintage.

2.     New 85% ownership requirement will apply to 2017 and earlier vintages sold after 30 June 2023.

3.     Grapes purchased on a ‘retention of title’ basis will not satisfy the 85% ownership requirement.

4.     Supply chains involving multiple wholesalers may prevent producers claiming the rebate.

5.     Pooling of grapes will also likely prevent producers claiming the rebate.

Details around each of these points are contained in the document link here.

Producers seeking further assistance can get in touch with Tax and Revenue Partner at Finlaysons, Matthew Brittingham on 08 8235 7458.

Further information is also available at WFA website here

Successful Prescribed Burns a Collaborative Effort

The issue of smoke taint in wine grapes as been fraught for both land managers and the wine industry since around 2004 when research conclusively proved that smoky flavours in wine were directly attributable to bush fire smoke.

The issue has been particularly prevalent around the Pemberton area, where prescribed burns occur far later in the grape growing season than would typically occur in Margaret River or the Great Southern – forest fuels on Pemberton’s rich moist karri loams are generally not dry enough to burn until around January or February when post-veraison grapes are at their most vulnerable to absorbing smoke compounds.

A pro-active approach from Wines of Western Australia, regional wine associations, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Parks and Wildlife Service has been successful in creating processes to mitigate vineyard risks resulting from prescribed burns.  The processes involve collaboration and information exchange between the government agencies, stakeholders and the local shires, local fire brigades, and vineyard owners.

A recent prescribed burn around the Pemberton townsite which covered a large area of high fuel forest area, and bordered several local vineyards, was a case which highlighted that these processes are working. The Parks and Wildlife Service  prescribed  burn was undertaken in 20 year old forest fuel, and was completed successfully with no negative impact on neighbouring vineyards. It was conducted through extensive planning and discussion between the Parks and Wildlife Service and the Pemberton Wine Region Association.

President of the Association Ash Lewkowsky, said that the level of collaboration and consultation the department had with the wine industry in conducting the prescribed burn had been outstanding.

“We have now been invited to be part of the department’s planning process for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 prescribed burn program. We are really pleased to be part of the team effort to ensure the best outcomes for both our industry and the protection of the community,” he said.

The first step of the process involved Parks and Wildlife Service releasing its one and three year programs of prescribed burns maps to both the State and regional wine associations. Regions via their associations are then able to comment on the plan, identifying windows of opportunity and potential issues.

The regions in turn communicate with local fire officers to update on ripening progress and anticipated harvest dates, while Parks and Wildlife Service constantly monitors conditions for burning against potential impacts on the community and vineyards.

As vintage progresses, the regions update Parks and Wildlife Service on areas available for burning as grapes are harvested.

Regions also work with the local shires and bushfire brigades to advise them of the impact of other factors such as landholders conducting burns on private property.

Impact assessment is supported by use of up to date vineyard maps obtained through satellite imaging and subsequent ground truthing by field officers. The maps have been developed by DPIRD, which has also developed a Smoke Taint Risk Calculator. This online tool calculates the  percentage risk for any given vineyard based on temperature, climate and historic weather data. DPIRD can also run diagnostic tests to assess smoke compounds in the berries prior to harvest to help winemakers decide whether or not to make wine batches from those vineyards.

Prescribed burns are set to increase across the South West over the next few years in an effort to minimise the impacts of bushfires on local communities. Prescribed burning by the Parks and Wildlife Service has increased in recent years after a variety of factors had led to reduced programs over the previous decade. This in turn has resulted in a greater fuel load in some areas which will be further targeted in the prescribed burn program in 2018/2019 and future years.

Vineyard owners or managers who would like more information on prescribed burns and when they are taking place are encouraged get in touch in the first instance through their regional associations. Listed below.

Contact details as follows:

Department of Biosecurity, Conservation and Attractions:

Stefan Dehaan

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development:Glynn Ward

Wine Regions:

Wines of Western Australia:

The Swan Valley Winemakers Association:

Perth Hills Wine Region:

Peel Wine Association:

Geographe Wine Association:

Margaret River Wine:

Blackwood Valley Wine Industry Association:

Pemberton Wine Region Association:

Great Southern Wine Producers Association:



Good News for WA - Export Data Released

Wine Australia has released its latest export figures to December 2017. The report shows that the value of Australian wine exports grew by 15 per cent to $2.56 billion and volume increased by 8 per cent to 811 million litres.

Against the national figures, value growth in Western Australia was 8 per cent and volume growth 1 per cent. Much of this was driven by Margaret River, which saw a 14 per cent value growth, 10 per cent volume growth and an increase of 4 per cent average value per litre.

Growth was also driven by the Great Southern which was 3 per cent up by volume, 6 per cent up by value and 3 per cent up by average value per litre.

The growth in value and average value per litre is good news for WA producers, indicating further premiumisation in the export market, profitability and price stability.

Red wine dominated the WA export sector representing 72 per cent of the market by volume, which was an 11 per cent growth on the previous year. The news was not so good for white wine, which was down 10 per cent by volume. By value, reds were up 16 per cent and whites down 6 per cent.

Value per litre was up for both red and white wine, by 4 and 5 per cent respectively.

Most of the growth for WA was in price points above $7.50, in particular the super premium market which saw a 35 per cent increase in exports valued above $20 per litre. Red wine was almost totally responsible for this increase.

Western Australia’s top markets by both volume and value, in order, are China, United Kingdom, United States, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Exports to China were driven, predictably, by red wine with a 30 per cent volume increase, 38 per cent value increase and a 6 per cent average value per litre increase. Whites increased too by both volume (27 per cent) and value (11 per cent), however saw a drop of 12 per cent in average value per litre.

WA’s second most important market, the United States, saw an increase of 2 per cent in average value, however both whites and reds are down by volume (-15 per cent) and value (-13 per cent).

With the US increasing its premium imports, it continues to be an important target market for WA producers. All growth in US wine consumption was driven by imports which rose 9 per cent in volume and 8 per cent in value in the first nine months of 2017, according to the latest Gomberg-Fredrikson Report.


Decanter World Wine Awards Entries Sought

Entries are closing soon for the Decanter World Wine Awards 2018.

Judged by the top experts from around the globe, DWWA is trusted internationally for its rigorous judging process and unrivalled source of wine recommendations. 

Decanter endorses and promotes DWWA winners bringing your wines to the attention of highly discerning consumers, buyers, sommeliers and distributors via a series of global tastings and promotions to over 540,000+ monthly users on

Click here to find out more details on the benefits of entering DWWA 2018

How to enter

Key DWWA Dates

15 February 2018 – Delivery deadline for consolidated shipping depots (Australia and NZ)
02 March 2018 – DWWA closes for entries & payment deadline
09 March 2018 – Deadline for direct deliveries to the UK warehouse
30 April – 04 May 2018 – DWWA Judging Week
08 – 11 May 2018 – DWWA Platinum Tasting
May 2018 – Results available to entrants only via online account
June 2018 – Full results published on

For any questions or assistance please contact:

Stephanie Duboudin, Account Manager DWWA AUS/NZ

+61 437 663 878 /

Media Release - $1M of wine export grants open for application


Tuesday 2 January 2018

Applications now open for $1m of Wine Export Grants

Wine businesses exporting to China, Hong Kong, Macau and the USA can now apply for up to $25,000 in Australian Government funding to support specific export promotion activities.  

The Wine Export Grants program is part of the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package), which aims to drive demand for wine exports and showcase Australia’s wine tourism to the world.

Administered by Wine Australia, the grant program has $1 million in funding for eligible small and medium wine businesses to claim up to 50 per cent reimbursement for specific export promotion expenses incurred on or after 1 January 2018.

‘Applications will be on a first-come first-served basis, so I strongly encourage wine businesses to review the guidelines and prepare their applications’, Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said. 

‘These grants focus on China and the USA as they have been identified as the markets with the most growth potential.

‘Eligible claims include reimbursement of travel expenses for a single promotional visit to these markets, the cost of providing free samples of the Australian wine product you’re promoting for export, participation in trade fairs and in-store promotions, as well as marketing and advertising’, Mr Clark said.

Across its 4 programs, the $50m Package aims to increase the value of Australian wine exports to a record $2.8 billion and attract an additional 40,000 international tourists to Australian wine regions by 2019–20.

Application details and guidelines for the Wine Export Grants are available at

2017 in Review

2017 has been a year of consolidation, success and opportunity for the WA wine industry.

While much hard work is still ahead of all of us, indicators of improved trading conditions provide reasons to be optimistic. Increases in price for fruit and bulk wine suggest stronger demand flowing through the value chain. An increase in the total value and value per litre of WA wine exports will also positively affect domestic trading conditions if the trend continues.

There are opportunities for WA to access government funding - the Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the Package) - aimed at driving cellar door and direct sales via wine tourism, and opportunities in key export markets.

WoWA will continue to represent the interests of all regions and producers in securing this funding, working with regional associations to ensure that it delivers tangible benefits to all industry.

The APC fee for service model ensures WoWA has the means to represent all of industry to Government and government agencies, using the Strategic Plan as the blueprint. We have made significant and effective input to policy around numerous industry issues, including:

  • WET rebate reform
  • Export Regional Wine Support package and $1M in funding for WA
  • Wine and health issues working with WFA
  • Autumn prescribed burning activities
  • Securing and administering ongoing funding for Regions to implement export market development activities
  • Securing and administering ongoing funding for the Wine Industry Technical Committee to undertake RDE&A programs that are relevant to WA producers

Further detail around our activities can be found in the Annual Report, here.

WA producers continue to go from strength to strength on the domestic and international stage. Leeuwin Estate and Vasse Felix were crowned Winery of the Year by UK’s Matthew Jukes and Wine Spectator in the USA respectively. A disproportionate number of our producers, big and small, carried off swags of trophies and medals on the national show circuit, testament to their commitment to quality and innovation.

2017 Wines of WA AGM

The 2017 Wines of WA AGM was held on 17 October at the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, South Perth.
The incoming Board of Directors was ratified (see list below). Trevor Whittington was appointed as Independent Chair, assuming the role on the retirement of President Redmond Sweeny.
The Board acknowledged Mr Sweeny’s contribution as President.
The 2016-17 Annual Report, including financial report is available here.

2017-18 WoWA Board.jpg