Wine industry merger to deliver increased returns to producers: Govt

Two of the country's peak wine bodies would be merged under legislation introduced by the federal government on Thursday.

The newly named Australian Grape and Wine Authority would be responsible for marketing and research and development of the country's $3.4 billion wine industry.

Easing regulatory burdens, increasing returns to producers and improving market access are what Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said would result from the move.

The merger brings together the research and development functions of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and the Wine Australia Corporation’s marketing and export oversight functions. It follows a proposal by key industry bodies, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers Australia.

“To enhance the profitability and sustainability of our wine sector we need our research and development and marketing investments to create real returns to the farm gate and cellar door,” Minister Joyce said.

Australia’s total wine export trade was valued at $1.8 billion in 2012, according to Mr Joyce.

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority is due to start operations from July 1, 2014. The authority would undertake the same functions as the previous two organisation and will operate under the existing levy and fees structure.

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