Australian Grape & Wine would like to notify all grape and wine producers that there has been a minor amendment to the appendices of the Australian Wine Industry Code of Conduct to make the dispute resolution procedure more efficient and more accessible to growers. The change was in response to feedback from users and was supported by Australian Grape & Wine’s Code Management Committee, a committee which has decision making authority under the Code, and contains equal number of grape growers and winemakers.
The purpose of the dispute resolution process under the Code is to help resolve complaints in a timely and cost-effective manner. Making use of the process should not lead to any ill-feelings nor should it have an impact on long term supply agreements. However, the Code Committee often raises concerns that some growers are hesitant to engage in disputes due to fear of retribution. The Dispute Resolution Process is there to be used. Those relationships that are most successful in the long term tend to be those where any concerns about quality, pricing or other contractual matters can be voiced feely with the view to reaching a resolution that both sides can live with. We encourage growers and wineries to maintain an open and honest relationships with one another.
The usual first point of contact for suppliers to Code signatories considering initiating a dispute is our Code Secretariat who you can contact via our website. If you would like to have a confidential conversation about your rights under the Code or about the dispute process, there are several growers and grower bodies who have indicated their willingness to assist growers navigate these really difficult times, as has the Chair of Australian Grape & Wine Vignerons Committee, Ashley Keegan. Please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to put you in touch with either Ashley or a regional grower body.
The current version of the Code can be accessed here and a summary of the changes is reported on page 3.