Wine label directory clamps down on copycat exporters

Monday, 15 April, 2019

Wine label directory clamps down on copycat exporters

The federal government is developing an Australian Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory to prevent copycat wine being sold overseas and better protect Australian wine producers.

Australian wine exports are forecast to top 800 megalitres, with a value of more than $2.8 billion in 2017–18. However, those producing dodgy copies can be damaging to Australian brands.

“Copycat export wines mimic Australian brands by copying our labels,” Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said. “This rips off our producers and it also ruins the reputation of our wine when customers expect a quality Australian wine and receive a cheap knock-off.”

The directory — which is part of the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package — aims to improve the transparency of exported labels, identify copycat labels and ensure fraudsters are held accountable.

“The publicly accessible directory will require all Australian wine exporters to submit images of their labels prior to gaining export certification,” Littleproud explained. “It will be searchable by image elements, brand name and publication date and will display the trademarked image of labels, the exporter ABN, brand name and date the label was published to the directory.”

Copycats could be stripped of their export licence, and those being copied could also take legal action under the Trade Marks Act 1995.

Australian Grape and Wine welcomed the announcement, stating it will help Australian wine businesses bolster their reputation with consumers in international markets.

“Australia’s reputation as an exporter of premium wines has not happened by accident. Over many years, Australia’s wine export approval arrangements have given customers confidence in the knowledge that the contents of a bottle matches the claims about vintage, variety and region on the wine label,” said Chief Executive Tony Battaglene. “In the coming months we will work closely with government as regulatory changes are implemented to support the Label Register.”

The government invested $417,000 to create the directory, and its ongoing administration will be funded by industry.

Image credit: ©

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