Record Keeping Requirements
Many winemakers have been concerned that the recent changes to the WET Legislation will impose new requirements on their businesses.
Wine businesses are already required to maintain records to comply with the Label Integrity Program (LIP). These records will, in most cases, demonstrate eligibility for the rebate if audited by the ATO. Under the new legislation, to demonstrate eligibility there will also have to be additional evidence, such as a grape supply contract in place, that clearly indicates that transfer of title has occurred on delivery of the grapes, and is dated before delivery and acknowledged by both parties.
The LIP requires records to be made within 3 days and retained for 7 years. The Act provides for a penalty of two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 120 penalty units instead of, or additional to imprisonment for failure to keep a record, keeping a false or misleading record, or for making a label claim not supported by records or for failing to provide a copy of the record when supplying wine goods.
The information below describes the type of information already required to comply with the LIP.
Type of records
Records must be kept by:
- Wine grape growers
- Manufacturers of wine goods (ie the wineries)
- Persons who supply or receive wine goods (including a person who sells the wine goods by wholesale or retail or export)
- Agents who take possession of wine goods
However, the obligations on all but the wineries are modified to reflect usual commercial requirements. Wineries have the most onerous requirements.
What must be recorded?
Must have records of one step back (unless you are a grower, then only forward) and one step forward (unless you are a retailer, then modified requirements).
One step back:
- The date the wine goods are received
- The type, quantity, vintage, variety and GI of the wine goods received
- The identity of the supplier
One step forward:
- The date the wine goods are supplied
- The type, quantity, vintage, variety and GI of the wine goods supplied
- The identity of the customer
All changes to the wine during the custody of a person (eg blending) must be recorded. Wineries must record details of the tanks / barrels that wine is stored in (which must be numbered) and the volumes of each wine stored.
These require the grapes to be traced through to the final bottled product to ensure it complies with the LIP requirements.
A standard commercial invoice would satisfy the requirements from the grape grower, provided it includes; date of supply, identity of supplier and customer, quantity of product and the vintage, variety, and GI.
Key record keeping requirements for winemakers are:
Manufacturing wine (Section 39H)
In the case that wine goods are changed or affected in any way, an audit trail containing a history of the changes to the wine goods must be kept in a readily traceable record. The record must be checked for discrepancies by following the sequence of the steps recorded.
Blends (Section 39H)
In the case of blended wines from different vintages, varieties or geographical indications, the records must show what proportions of the blend are represented by each blended wine and the vintage, variety and geographical indication of each blended wine.
Grape extract (Section 39H)
Grape extract derived from grapes of different vintages, varieties or geographical indications must show the proportion of the wine goods derived from each kind of grape and the vintage, variety and geographical indication of each kind of grape.
Additional requirements to demonstrate WET eligibility
The additional information required under the new legislation to determine eligibility for the WET Rebate will include information to identify what proportion (if any) of the blend in the final packaged product is from own grapes, and what proportion (if any) is from bulk wine. Eligibility requires records to trace from the grapes through to the final packaged wine.