The objective of the Label Integrity Program (LIP) is to help to ensure the truth, and the reputation for truthfulness, of statements made on wine labels, or made for commercial purposes in other ways, about the vintage, variety or the geographical indication of wine manufactured in Australia.
The Label Integrity Program is legislated for under Part VIB of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Act 2013 (the Act).
Who does the Label Integrity Program apply to?
- Wine grape growers;
- Manufacturers of wine goods;
- Persons who supply or receive wine goods (including a person who sells the wine goods by wholesale or retail or export);
- Agents who take possession of wine goods.
What does the LIP cover?
The LIP applies to “wine goods” which includes grapes, wine, and grape extract used or intended to be used in manufacturing wine.
What is a Label Claim?
A label claim means any written claim made or implied about a wine goods’ vintage, variety or geographical indication, whether it be on wine labels, records, commercial documents or in advertisements.
Wine Australia has published a Guide to labelling with Geographical Indications to assist wine manufacturers comply with the relevant requirements.
What must be recorded?
To verify labelling claims, everyone in the wine supply chain must keep an auditable trail of documents indicating the vintage, grape variety and Geographical Indication of wine or grape products that they grow, manufacture, supply or receive (regardless of whether they are acting as an agent). The LIP prescribes what events must be recorded, but does not prescribe a form in which they must be kept.
As a guide, the Wine Australia provides LIP statement templates, record keeping templates and record keeping guide.
A record must be made within three (3) days and kept for seven (7) years.
Receiving and supplying wine goods
The following must be recorded:
One step back:
- The date the wine goods are received;
- The type, quantity, vintage, variety and GI of the wine goods received;
- The identity of the supplier (and, in the case of a winery, the actual winery address).
One step forward:
- The date the wine goods are supplied;
- The type, quantity, vintage, variety and GI of the wine goods supplied;
- The identity of the receiver (and, in the case of a winery, the actual winery address).
In the case that the supplier or receiver of the wine goods is different to the physical site where the wine goods have come from/gone to, the name and address of the site must also be recorded.
A record containing the above detail must also be supplied to the receiver of the wine goods on the same day that the wine is supplied. The format of this record is not prescribed. Wine Australia recommend a Wine Goods Supply Statement, or similar, be used.
As an example, a standard commercial invoice would satisfy the requirements provided it includes; date of supply, identity of supplier and customer, quantity of product and the vintage, variety, and GI.
In addition to recording ‘one step forward’ and ‘one step back’, in some situations it may be appropriate for receivers of wine goods to request additional assurance from their supplier, to further verify the vintage, varietal and origin claims made about the wine. For example, receivers might consider requesting statutory declarations from their suppliers, or require suppliers to submit to random audits. In addition, receivers of wine goods may wish to negotiate commercial terms with the supplier that require the supplier to indemnify the receiver for any loss or damage incurred by them as a result of the wine being misidentified.
What are the Penalties?
The Act provides for a penalty of two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 120 penalty units instead of, or additional to imprisonment for failure to keep a record, keeping a false or misleading record, or for making a label claim not supported by records or for failing to provide a copy of the record when supplying wine goods.
Further information on records can be found here.