United Kingdom (UK) wine regulatory reform
As previously reported, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced a consultation on comprehensive reforms to its wine regulation. These reforms represent key opportunities to further liberalise UK wine regulations and improve trade. The reforms have mirrored the list of key requests raised by Australian Grape & Wine, Wine Australia and individual companies with the UK government, following Brexit.
On 16 October 2023, DEFRA published its response to the consultation, announcing a number of key reforms to commence in 2024. The announcement included confirmation of key reforms to:
In addition, the DEFRA Summary and Government response sets out information on the additional items which will undergo further consultation or consideration from 2024, such as transformation and approved oenological (winemaking) processes.
Australia European Union Free Trade Agreement
Since the last update, Australia and the European Union (EU) have continued to negotiate on aspects of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) seeking improvements to the offer made by the EU. Australian Grape & Wine has continued to engage with key trade negotiators, DFAT, DAFF, Ministers Farrell, Watt, Ayres and their offices over the past few months. We have also maintained our engagement with the pan industry EU FTA taskforce set up by the National Farmers Federation.
On 28-29 October 2023, Lee McLean accompanied Trade Minister Don Farrell to Osaka, Japan for the G7 Trade Ministers meetings where Australia and the EU failed to reach agreement on satisfactory FTA outcome. This will mean that the FTA cannot be finalised by the end of 2023. A new EU parliament will be introduced in 2024 which will likely mean it could take several more years to conclude an Australia-EU FTA, if at all.
This will mean that the status quo is maintained on a number of issues for wine including Prosecco and tariffs.
Nutrition and ingredient labelling
The EU’s nutrition and ingredient requirements will come into force on 8 December 2023. Since the last board update Australian Grape & Wine has continued to work with World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) members, Comité Vins (CEEV) and the European Commission to clarify any of the remaining uncertainties of these measures. In early 2023 the WWTG provided a list of pooled member questions to CEEV to incorporate into their discussions with the European Commission (EC) on the development of a guiding Q&A document.
While a number of these questions have since been answered via the publication of several supplementary EU regulations the EU’s Q&A guidance document is yet to be finalised. The Q&A Guidance remains in draft form and the EU is expected to adopt this draft with any changes by 24 November 2023. A draft of the EU Q&A guidance was made publicly available via the webpage for the 27 September 2023 meeting of the European Commission’s Wine Expert Sub-Group here.
Following the World Wine Trade Group meetings on 29 October to 1 November member countries agreed to peruse further joint actions from the member governments to raise these concerns with the EU.
We have been working with Wine Australia to make sure industry export guidance is up to date and Wine Australia have been putting out regular information to support compliance with these measures.