Wines labelled as organic or biodynamic are treated slightly differently when it comes to export. Here are three main things that you need to know:
- any mention of ‘organic’ and ‘biodynamic’ (or indication of similar meaning, including ‘ecological’ and ‘biological’) in a wine’s presentation and description is considered an ‘organic claim’
- wines with organic claims require organic certification for export approval, and
- exporting wines presented as organic without certification is an offence under the Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders and can attract significant penalties.
An Organic Produce Certificate (often abbreviated to ‘OPC’), can be obtained from a certifying body approved by the Department of Agriculture.
When registering a wine in the Wine Export Approval (WEA) system, you must answer the ‘product organic?’ question accordingly if your wine is labelled or presented as organic. If your wine is actually organic, but there’s no indication of this on the packaging – you can answer ‘no’. Selecting ‘organic’ or ‘biodynamic’ during product registration sends a prompt to provide the OPC when a product is added to a shipment (i.e. a reminder that it must be certified for export if it’s labelled as organic).
If your domestic packaging does include an organic claim but isn’t certified, there are few options if you’re looking to export it. It can be a labour-intensive process to over-sticker or obscure any organic claims, but it’s unfortunately unavoidable unless you have a separate label for export. Some producers choose this option – or not make mention of ‘organic’ at all on their domestic range to allow for flexibility, but it’s up to the individual to decide. Ultimately, you may want to consider certification – this will allow you to export your wines presented as organic products, but if certification isn’t an available or preferred option, you can’t include any of the terms listed above.
There’s further information regarding exporting organic goods on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment's website, or get in touch with Wine Australia via email or on (08) 8228 2000.