WA State Government Survey for Regional Residents

The Department of Regional Development, in partnership with Ernst & Young is conducting the Living in the Regions survey again this year to find out more about regional communities in Western Australia.

·       Living in the Regions is Australia’s largest survey of regional residents. The results provide a rich picture of the experiences, perspectives and attitudes of regional residents, and will form a valuable input to policy development for regional communities.

·       Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman yesterday announced the Living in the Regions 2016 survey and has strongly encouraged regional residents to participate and contribute towards shaping the future development of regional WA.

·       Closing date for the survey is Wednesday 30 November 2016.

·       Visit the DRD website for more information and to complete the survey.

And the winners from this year's Swan Valley Wine Show are...

The 2016 Singapore Airlines Swan Valley Wine Show Gala Awards Dinner was held at Mandoon Estate last Friday 26 August. Mandoon Estate provided a sensational backdrop for the gala awards dinner which was attended by winemakers throughout the region, Swan Valley business owners and members of the community.

Following the judging of over 230 wines, Talijancich Wines was awarded Most Successful Producer and the Singapore Airlines Trophy for the Best Wine of Show and with their Julian James White Liqueur NV.

Pinelli Estate Wines was awarded four trophies for their Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2007 including the Best Swan Valley Table Wine, Best Dry White Table Wine and Chairman’s Trophy.  Mandoon Estate was awarded the Best Dry Red Table Wine and Best Shiraz for their The Pact Shiraz 2014. Sittella Wines was awarded Best White Blend with their 2009 Museum Silk

International guest judge Mr Lim Hwee Peng from WineCraft Singapore emphasised his message throughout his stay that the Swan Valley region should not continue to be described as a hot climate winemaking region. ‘’For me, there was a real taste of Europe in the wines made in the Swan Valley. Perhaps Mediterranean rather than hot should be used in climate description, and by not emphasising hot there is a better chance for Swan Valley wines to be appreciated in the right context,” Mr Lim said.

The judges were impressed with the exceptional standard of wines in the Chenin Blanc categories. In the ‘2016 Chenin Blanc’ class, 5 out 6 of the wines entered were awarded medals and in the ‘2015 and older Chenin Blanc’ class 3 out of 5 received medals. They also noted ‘’Shiraz is what the Swan Valley does so well.’’

John Hanley, Chairman of Judges at this year’s show said that ‘’The fortified wines were some of the best, not just in Western Australia but in Australia.’’

The Spirit of the Swan Award was presented to the Dinneen Family to honour the late Alan Dinneen, a highly respected Swan Valley wine ambassador and wine judge.  The Spirit of the Swan is a biennial award presented to an individual who has exhibited an outstanding achievement or contributed to the promotion of Swan Valley wine, winemaking, viticulture, tourism, sales or marketing. The Dinneen family have run Chateau Guildford on Swan Street in Guildford since 1974 which continues to stock a large range of Swan Valley wine.

For more information go to www.swanvalleywinemakers.com.au


WET Rebate Reform - WoWA response to WET Rebate: Tightened Eligibility Implementation Paper

The WET Rebate Implementation Paper released by the Federal Government on 2 September confirms the Government’s failure to recognise the importance of the wine industry to rural and regional communities and the significant damage that will be caused to small wine producers and their communities by the proposed changes to the WET Rebate.

In the 2016 Budget, the Government announced two major changes to the WET Rebate system that will hurt small wine producers and their communities. It plans to:

  • Reduce the WET Rebate cap from $500,000 to $290,000 over two years; and
  • Change the eligibility criteria so that only producers that own an interest on a winery can claim the rebate.

Both changes fail to recognise the valid reasons why the WET Rebate was introduced in 1999, and demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of how the wine industry operates and the importance of maintaining the support to small wine producers and their communities that the rebate provides. The first element is a clear revenue grab, while the second will disqualify over half the small producers in Western Australia from claiming the rebate at all.

The Western Australian wine industry supports reforming and refocusing the WET Rebate system to eliminate the market distortion that is currently occurring through the application of the rebate to bulk and unbranded wines, and by tightening eligibility for the rebate. Wine Equalisation Tax (WET), as a value based tax, places smaller fine wine producers at an enormous disadvantage relative to larger lower cost producers as it results in substantially higher tax being paid on high value fine wines relative to lower value wines. The WET Rebate was introduced to support smaller wine producers in regional and rural Australia with domestic sales, and to effectively exempt those wine producers from WET.

Wines of Western Australia (WoWA) has consulted extensively with wine producers in Western Australia and has released its position paper which outlines four simple proposals to restore the intent and integrity of the WET Rebate system. The Western Australian wine industry is made up of the type of businesses that the WET Rebate was intended to support – smaller regionally based producers who are the owners of the brands under which their production is sold. These businesses form an integral part of the regional economies in which they are based, generating significant employment and economic activity and supporting the local tourism industries.

WOWA’s proposals to refocus and restore integrity to the WET Rebate system are:

  • Eliminate the rebate for bulk and unbranded wine by limiting the rebate to packaged, branded wine which is for sale to domestic customers – this element is supported by both the Government and the wine industry;
  • Expand the existing eligibility criteria to provide that a producer must operate from a place of business in a wine region and maintain ownership and control of the grapes from which wine is made from the crusher to the finished bottled and branded product – the Government’s proposal that a producer must own an interest in a winery does not recognise the many legitimate business models used by smaller wine producers;
  • Maintain the overall rebate of $500,000 but refocus it so that the full amount is only available on cellar door or direct sales, and introduce a limit within the cap on the rebate available for wholesale sales at $350,000, transitioned in over four years – the Government’s proposed reduction in the cap for legitimate producers will damage their viability and their ability to invest in their businesses; and
  • Restrict access to the rebate to small and medium sized wine producers - the rebate was never intended to support large scale producers.

WoWA is consulting with representatives of fine wine regions in other states and has already received support for its proposals from a number of regional associations.

WoWA calls on the Government to include the WET Rebate cap in the consultation process and to focus its reform of the WET Rebate system on restoring the original intent of the rebate rather than adding complexity to the WET Rebate system or reducing the amount of rebate available to genuine small and medium wine producers. WoWA urges the Government to focus on integrity measures that do not prejudice the sustainability of regional wine communities, and to initiate as soon as possible meaningful discussion on reforming the basis of taxation of wine to a simpler and fairer system based on the volume of wine rather than the value of wine.

Larry Jorgensen
CEO - Wines of Western Australia
0448 884 161

Redmond Sweeny
President - Wines of Western Australia
0419 487 427

About Wines of WA
Wines of Western Australia provides support to wine producers and Regional Wine Associations in the development of their region.
The mandate of Wines of Western Australia is to ensure government and its relevant agencies understand the position of WA’s nine - premium wine growing regions on key issues affecting their interests and to leverage the collective voices to achieve enhanced success for the stakeholders.

Wines of Western Australia Wine Equalisation Tax Position Paper August 2016

Young Gun of Wine

Calling all young at heart winemakers!

Entries for the eleventh annual Young Gun of Wine are now open (until September 16), and the competition organisers, judges and sponsors are on the hunt for the best ‘young at heart’ winemakers around Australia.

Entries are open until September 16.

To enter or for more information about the competition, see The Awards and Entries pages at

Wine Industry Remains Angry About WET Changes


Consultations with Australia’s wine industry confirm on-going anger at the Government’s failure to consult over its proposed changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax Rebate.

In the 2016 Budget, the Turnbull Government announced two major changes to WET rebate arrangements. It plans to:

1. Reduce the rebate cap from $500,000 to $350,000

2. Declare only wine producers with a financial interest in a winery can claim the rebate

The first change is a revenue grab which will hit the bottom line of winemakers hard.

The second measure is sold as one designed to prevent rorting but will hit hard honest grape growers who sell wine under their own label produced by a contracted winery.

Like the backpacker tax, the Government has failed to consult and poor policy is the outcome.

It’s time for this Government to undertake some meaningful discussion with those who are the backbone of our wonderful wine industry.


2016 Liquor Barons Geographe & WA Alternative Varieties Wine Show

ENTRIES CLOSE - Friday 26th August 2016

Just a reminder - Geographe Wine Show entries close on Friday 26th August 2016.

Don’t miss out on this important opportunity to support your regional wine show and to have your wines benchmarked against industry standards.

We have an excellent Judging Panel this year led by Jane Faulkner, Winematters. Jane will be ably assisted by  Julian Langworthy, Senior Winemaker of the Fogarty Group, and Dan Wegener, one of Australia's most awarded Sommeliers.

Make a diary note to join us on the afternoon of Thursday 22nd September at the exhibitors tasting giving you the opportunity to speak directly to our judges and gain valuable feedback on your wine entries.

If you haven't already - then book a place in one of our Masterclasses - Chardonnay Today or Italian Discovery. Taste the world's leading examplesalongside the best of Geographe and Australia, a great opportunity to learn and explore the world of wine. More details available on our website. www.geographewineshow.com.au/masterclass-booking

Finally a celebration of the wines of the Geographe region will take place at the Gala Dinner, at the Cube, Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre on the evening of Thursday 22nd September, where announcements of award and trophy winners will be made.

We are looking forward to receiving your entries soon!



WA Wine Industry WET Rebate Position Paper

In the 2016 Federal Budget, the Government announced changes to the WET Producer Rebate (WET Rebate). Wines of WA (WoWA) supports the policy objectives behind the changes, namely addressing integrity concerns, better targeting support, and tightening eligibility for the WET Rebate. However, following extensive consultation with local industry, WoWA is very concerned about the direct and indirect consequences of the announced changes for regional growth and development, and regional communities. These consequences, which we believe are unintended, will have significant negative social and economic impacts in Australia’s regional communities in which wine producers are based.

Industry consultation included:

• A survey of producers conducted by RSM Australia.
• Industry “town-hall meetings” facilitated by Wines of WA and WA Members of the Federal Government. These meetings formed part of an informal consultation process by the Federal Government. Senator Anne Ruston visited most wine producing states in June 2016. The process included 4 meetings in the following regions and towns: Mt Barker, Pemberton, Busselton and Swan Valley.
• Extensive written and verbal communications with Regional Wine Associations. The positions documented in this paper have been ratified by all fine wine regions in WA.

Please see link here the resulting position paper outlining the results of this consultation process.

The paper has the endorsement of all WA Regional Wine Associations.

It outlines:
• the negative impacts on WA producers that will result from the proposed changes and;
• alternative amendments that will achieve the same revenue outcomes for government while re-focusing the rebate back to its original purpose of supporting small and medium wine producers in regional and rural Australia

The paper will be distributed to all state and regional associations in Australia and to all relevant government, opposition and cross-bench members and will inform all discussions supporting the position of WA growers and producers.

For further information, contact Redmond Sweeny - 0419 487 427