Label Directory

What is the Label Directory?  

Wine Australia will launch a Wine Label Directory in mid-2021 to help Australian wine producers protect their intellectual property rights through searching the newly established Label Directory.

Development of this public-facing online directory is supported by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package).

Once established, wine exporters will be required to submit images of their labels to Wine Australia prior to gaining export approval.

Brand owners will be able to search the directory via the Export Label Image Search System (ELISS) to identify potential breaches of their intellectual property rights, and the public will be able to verify whether the Australian wines they consume overseas originated in Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Q
1. Why is there a need for a Label Directory?
A

Australian Grape & Wine (AGW) identified the need to establish a Wine Export Label Directory as a key step in strengthening protection for Australian wine labels against fraudulent activity. Wine Australia has worked with AGW and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to prepare legislative changes to the Wine Australia Act 2013 and the Wine Australia Regulations 2018.

The amending bill was passed by the Federal Parliament in December 2020 to allow Wine Australia to establish and maintain a public facing, online database of all Australian wine labels for export. 

The changes will further strengthen our wine export regulatory system by preventing the export of copycat labelled wines. Wine Australia, through an extensive consultation process, has established a reference group of representatives from the wine sector to oversee the implementation of the system. 

Q
2. How will Wine Australia establish the Label Directory?
A

Wine Australia will establish and administer the Label Directory as part of its wine export control function. All Australian wine exporters will be required to submit images of their labels prior to gaining export approval via the Wine Australia Licensing and Approval System (WALAS).

The Export Label Image Search System (ELISS) will sit outside of WALAS for brand owners, trade and consumers to identify potential breaches of their intellectual property rights and to verify the authenticity of wine labels. 

Q
3. Will uploading labels be mandatory for all exporters?
A

Yes. New export rules will require all Australian wine exporters to upload images of their labels in WALAS prior to gaining export approval for packaged products.  Labels will not need to be uploaded for bulk product, but exporters will be able to upload labels applied overseas voluntarily if they wish to have them included in the Label Directory. There will be a reasonable transition time for exporters to upload labels to the directory before launch in mid-2021 with training and resources provided.

Q
4. When will the Label Directory go live?
A

The Label Directory has been in development since late 2020 and it is expected that labels will be able to be uploaded from late April 2021. The Export Label Image Search System (ELISS) is expected to go-live on 1 July 2021.

 

Q
5. Will I be able to upload labels against existing products in WALAS before the process is mandatory?
A

Yes. Exporters will have at least two weeks in which they will be able to upload labels to the directory in WALAS prior to the process being mandated. Wine Australia will communicate directly with all exporters on key dates and training sessions as soon as timelines have been finalised.

 

Q
6. What images are required?
A

If there is both a front and back label, it will be mandatory to upload both. If you are applying different back labels for different markets, you will be able to upload multiple back labels for a single product.  

Q
7. What is the format of images that need to be uploaded?
A

The image of the wine label must be in either .JPG, .PNG or .TIFF format. The image size must be a minimum of 600 pixels x 600 pixels with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI.

Q
8. What if I don’t have the original artwork to upload?
A

A photograph of the original artwork or the bottle will be accepted, provided it is in the correct file format.

Q
9. Do I still need to upload labels if I’m exporting cleanskins?
A

If you are exporting cleanskins, you are required to upload images of plain labels containing mandatory information including volume, alcohol content, allergens, name and address.  Any brand label that will be affixed in market can also be provided be at later stage..

Q
10. What about stock that is exported in bulk and labelled in market?
A

The exporter will be able to voluntarily link a certain volume of a registered bulk product to a label applied in market – even if it has been applied by a customer. This will, in turn, drive developers of in-market brands to forge direct relationships with Australian exporters – because they will want their labels to be stored in the Label Directory.

Retailers and distributors in market will also be able to use the Export Label Image Search System (ELISS)to verify whether a label has been uploaded by a legitimate Australian exporter. If a label does not appear on the Directory, it will be difficult for an individual to verify that the relevant product originated in Australia.

 

Q
11. A copycat wouldn’t upload their label, so what’s the point of the directory?
A

Labels discoverable through searching the Export Label Image Search System (ELISS) will be able to be verified as originating from Australia. It follows that copycat brands developed in market will not be discoverable through searching ELISS, hence will not be able to be verified as originating from Australia.

In addition, at times copycat labels are inadvertently developed by Australian exporters for overseas customers. By searching ELISS, exporters and brand owners will be able identify potential labelling problems and prevent them from occurring.

Q
12. Will there be training?
A

Yes. We’ll communicate directly with all exporters on key dates, training sessions and resources to help wine exporters transition to using the new processes well ahead of the launch.

Q
13. How is the Label Directory being funded?
A

On 30 October 2019, Wine Australia received approval from the Department of Agriculture for funding from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package) to be allocated to development of the Label Directory. To allow Wine Australia sufficient time to deliver this project, the Minister for Agriculture, Water and Resources has provided an extension for delivery of the Label Directory past the $50m Package end date of June 2020.

Q
14. How will I be able to search for labels?
A

Much like the Australian Trade Mark Office Search System, the Export Label Image Search System (ELISS) will be searchable by uploading an image, or inputting text in English or Chinese.  Additional filtering by publication date, shipment approval date and/or destination market(s) will be available.

 

Q
15. Why will the Label Directory be publicly searchable?
A

By making the Label Directory public, it will not only allow brand owners to identify breaches of their IP rights and enforce them, but it will also promote the integrity of Australian wine providing a platform through which the public can verify whether products they purchase overseas originated in Australia. 

 

Q
16. What measures will be taken to stop a would-be copycat searching the Label Directory and replicating the label?
A

Only low-resolution images will be displayed on the Label Directory. These will be watermarked by embedded software in the Directory so that users can verify the authenticity of the label image. It’s important to note that information on the directory will not be any more accessible than trademark and commercial wine label directories that are already available to the public. It remains vitally important for brand owners to seek to protect their brands through formal trademark registrations in the markets in which they do business.

Q
17. Can Wine Australia take action against an intellectual property breach?
A

Wine Australia’s statutory remit does not extend to matters concerning private intellectual property rights. However, if a label appears on the Label Directory and does not comply with the rules set out in the Wine Australia Act 2013 (such as the blending rules), other Australian laws, or the laws of the country to which the product is being exported, Wine Australia may decide whether to revoke approval of the related product. Where an exporter is engaged in activities that might jeopardise the successful promotion of Australian wine overseas (such as copycat activity), Wine Australia may consider whether to cancel or suspend the licence held by that exporter.

Q
18. How much additional administration will be required of Australian wine exporters?
A

Much of the information required for the Label Directory will be extracted from the Wine Australia Licensing and Approval System (WALAS). This will limit the amount of additional information that Australian wine exporters need to supply as part of the new process.

Q
19. Can a language other than English be used to search the Label Directory?
A

Yes. Simplified Chinese.

Q
20. Can someone else upload an image of my label?
A

Only if they are a licensed exporter and they are exporting your product (which is lawful).  The Label Directory provides an export control function, through its integration with the Wine Australia Licensing and Approval System (WALAS) by making it mandatory for all Australian wine exporters to submit images of the labels they are exporting prior to gaining export approval. The label images can therefore only be uploaded, via WALAS, by any licenced exporter who has registered your branded product for export approval.


Have a question about the Label Directory?

See the FAQs or email us.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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