COVID-19 Update 31 March 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis escalates, the business landscape continues to change on a daily basis, with new survival measures for businesses, and further restrictions to the sale of alcohol, being announced overnight.

Australian Grape & Wine continues to reaffirm to the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud, that the Australian wine industry is an essential service to the Australian community, keeping people in rural and regional Australia in jobs.  We are satisfied with the Minister publicly acknowledging the difficult situation many of our producers are facing.

On 25 March 2020, Minister Littleproud made a statement saying Australia’s food production and supply chain will not be affected by coronavirus shutdowns. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, food production and supply is an ‘essential service’.  In order to maintain our essential business status, particularly if future restrictions are imposed, our businesses must demonstrate that they have in place measures to appropriately manage the risk to workers and the community.

Fact Sheets for Grape and Wine businesses

Australian Grape & Wine have created some practical guides and Fact Sheets for grape & wine businesses to help you navigate through this dynamic and challenging time, by having measures in place to manage your risk:

SA Cellar Door Closures
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has issued a new directive on non-essential businesses which impacts cellar doors.  Please see the SAPOL media release.

Under this Directive, as of Midnight on 30 March 2020, all cellar doors and restaurants located at wineries must close. All take-away sales from wineries or restaurants located at wineries are banned. Direct consumers are banned from picking up any liquor orders from the winery.

Online and telephone sales and sales to retail outlets can continue with delivery by the business or a commercial transport service.

Retail Outlets Supporting Australian producers
In the current environment, retailers are considering ways in which they can help support the Australian wine sector. Coles Liquor and Endeavour Drinks have both reached out to Australian Grape & Wine with initiatives which may significantly help your business to get through the coming months. Please find the information, including contact details, for Coles Liquor and Endeavour Drinks Group.

Retail Voluntary Measures
Retail Drinks Australia today announced a voluntary national initiative by participating liquor retailers to place temporary limits on the amount of product customers can purchase in one transaction.  . While a number of retailer groups have signed onto this initiative, there is no requirement that individual wine businesses do the same.  This initiative does not impact on DTC / mailing list / Cellar Door sales.

Consumers can purchase up to the total limit in any two product categories:

Beer 2 cases*
Cider 2 cases*
Pre-mix spirits/Ready to Drink (RTD) 2 cases*
Wine 12 bottles
Cask Wine 2 casks, not to exceed 10L in total
Bottled Spirits 2 bottles, not to exceed 2L in total

Please see the Retail Drinks Australia press release and poster outlining these measures.

JobKeeper Payment
The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.  Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer.  The payment ensures eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over.

For more detailed information, see the JobKeeper Payment Fact Sheet.

Agriculture Minister’s Teleconference
You may be aware that Agriculture Ministers are holding teleconferences regularly to share issues and information nationally. The last meeting was held on Friday 27 March, with the communique available to the public.

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