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The Wine Industry Code of Conduct, established in December 2008, has two main aims:

  • to establish a common Australian wine grape supply contract framework; and
  • to provide a dispute resolution system to manage disagreements which arise over price or quality assessments.

The Code was developed by Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) and the Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) and is supported by the Federal Government's Department of Agriculture.

** Please note that the Code has been revised to extend the time when a dispute over final price can be mutually resolved, from 14 to 60 days. This is effective from the 2015 harvest onwards.** The media release on the explanation of the change can be downloaded here.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Code

Is the Code of Conduct compulsory?

No, it is voluntary. It is expected that the Code will achieve a high level of industry uptake and cooperation. By ensuring that everyone knows where they stand, WGGA and WFA believe a non-legal system of dispute resolution will make for better long-term commercial relationships.

How will wine grape purchasers and growers participate in the Code?

Wine grape purchasers will be invited to become signatories to the Code by the WGGA and WFA. This will mean they are bound by its provisions - and are also expected to promote it to other growers and wineries. The Code sets out the minimum requirements for the wine grape purchase agreements. Wine grape purchasers will be bound by provisions of the Code once they sign the Code. Naturally growers and wineries should seek legal advice if they are at all concerned about contracts.

Do you expect a majority of wine grape purchasers to sign the Code?

The short term aim is that 25% of the top 100 Australian wine producers by tonnes processed by 31 December 2012 and 50% of the top 100 Australian wine producers by tonnes processed by 31 December 2013 will sign the Code.

Has the Committee been granted any powers to ensure compliance with the Code?

The Committee has the ability to expel non-complying signatories and also publish their names in its Annual Report and on its website.

Will the Code apply to my existing contract?

The Dispute Resolution elements of the Code will apply for signatories immediately for the 2009 vintage and all elements will apply to new contracts. Signatories commit to bringing exisiting contracts in line with the Code once any significant (material) change is made to a contract.

FAQ's about becoming a signatory to the Code