Wine labels are governed by the Wine Australia Corporation Act 1980 and Regulations, the Food Standards Code, the National Measurement Act and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
This is an example of a typical Australian wine label. Refer to the Compliance Guide for detailed information about mandatory and optional label requirements.
The Winemaker's Federation recommends that all Australian winemakers include a voluntary pregnancy warning on labels of wine sold in Australia. This initiative is not mandatory but is highly recommended. Further information can be found on the WFA website: www.wfa.org.au/labelling
If any claims are made or implied on wine labels, records, commercial documents or in advertisements with regard to vintage, variety or Geographical Indication, the blending regulations apply. Below is a table that provides a summary of the blending rules. Please refer to the Regulations for the specific rules.
Any claim must be listed in descending order of its proportion in the blend.
|| Geographical Indication
|| 95% (min 5%)**
* Each variety named in the description and presentation must be present in greater proportion in the composition of the wine than any variety that is not named.
** Maximum of 3 regions can be claimed.
A vintage is the year in which the grapes were harvested. In the case of fruit harvested in December the following calendar year is the effective vintage year.
Only those grape varieties recognised by one of the following organisations are permitted to be claimed on Australian wine labels:
- OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine)
- UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants)
- IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute)
The OIV List of Vine Varieties and their Synonyms permitted for use by Australia can be viewed here.
For the purpose of determining the proportion of the varieties, the quantity of products used for possible sweetening and cultures of micro-organisms, not exceeding a total of 50ml/L (5%), is excluded.
A Geographical Indication (GI) is a word or expression used in the description and presentation of a wine to indicate the country, region or locality in which it originated or to suggest that a particular quality, reputation or characteristic of the wine is attributable to the wine having originated in the country, region or locality indicated by the word or expression.
Australia’s GIs are published in the Register of Protected GIs and Other Terms.
Country of Origin
A country of origin statement is mandatory. The name of the country is the only mandatory word, eg, “Wine of Australia” or “Australian Wine”. This statement must be separate from any geographical indication and cannot be incorporated with a state or region.
Under Regulation 19 of the Wine Australia Corporation Act a blend of grapes that is produced in more than one country must be identified on the label with the larger percentage of the blend first and, the actual percentage of the blends. For example: “PRODUCT OF AUSTRALIA 90%; NEW ZEALAND 10%”. The 85% rule does not apply to country of origin and any percentage of imported wine in a blend must be stated.
Wine Australia publishes labelling guides to assist exporters navigate the complex rules and regulations. Refer to the Export Market Guide for country specific information or refer to the Compliance Guide for detailed information about mandatory and optional label requirements for the Australian domestic market. The following checklists provide basic information for designing labels for Australia’s major markets.