Supporting market access, safety and regulation
The Australian wine industry needs to be proactive, and to anticipate, facilitate and influence changes to regulations relating to wine composition, production, labelling and marketing. This project involves AWRI staff regularly attending and actively participating in Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV), FIVS, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Regulatory Forum, International Wine Technical Summit (IWTS), World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) and Oenoviti meetings, and working with these organisations to provide scientific and technical advice and assistance on relevant issues. This includes actively serving on key boards, committees and working groups.
This project will also disseminate to stakeholders (including governments, industry, journalists and the general public) accurate, appropriate and timely technical information to inform industry policy positions. Position and supporting papers and materials will be produced and advice and assistance provided. Examples include the preparation of scientific and technical submissions to governments, and allied government and industry organisations on industry-relevant issues to facilitate evidence-based and informed decision-making by the wine industry, regulators, policy makers and consumers. Content and resources will contribute to the development of industry advice, publications and presentations, which will support the AWRI helpdesk, and provide content for the AWRI website.
Support will also be provided to the work of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), Wine Australia (WA) and Australian Grape and Wine (AGW) in establishing robust scientifically and technically sound regulatory frameworks in emerging markets. Stakeholders will be provided with information drawn from a repository of readily accessible, accurate scientific and technical information, and recommendations on the making and selling of wine, both nationally and internationally. The success of this project depends on using expertise from various scientific/technical disciplines within the AWRI.
This project incorporates the AWRI portion of the multi-agency Australian Wine Sector Market Access Project 2017-2019, excluding the agrochemicals component, which is covered by Project 1.5.1.
Scientific and technical advice and assistance were provided on a number of market access issues. These included the analysis of allergens in wine and associated labelling in different export markets, the analysis and content of heavy metals in wine and the energy content of wine and energy calculations. The AWRI’s databases of Analytical requirements for the export of Australian wine and Permitted additives and processing aids for winemaking and wine importing countries were updated regularly and now cover 45 and 29 individual countries respectively, in addition to information on regional trading blocs. An application to permit the addition of potassium polyaspartate to wine was also prepared for submission to FSANZ.
The team continued to support efforts to improve market access for Australian wine in the international marketplace through participation in forums including the International Wine Technical Summit, FIVS, World Wine Trade Group Industry Meeting and the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF), as well as supporting the AGW Wine Industry Technical Advisory Committee. Papers and presentations covered topics including a review of the variability of typical wine components, issues with the use of sugar free extract as a marker for wine adulterations, the need for a standardised method for determining sugar in wine, a guide for best practice measurement of total sulfur dioxide, fit for purpose analysis and authenticity measurement in wine. The project team also continued to lead the development of a database of typical values for wine components to be internationally curated and based at the AWRI.
One of the successful programs managed by the AWRI is the APEC WRF ring test program. This program involves 18 accredited laboratories from across the Asia-Pacific Economic community that conduct wine regulatory analysis. It provides an opportunity for participants to compare analytical results on a regular basis, with the aim of improving the agreement among the laboratories. Run as a subset of the Australian Interwinery Analysis Group program, the initiative has seen a significant improvement in the alignment of results among laboratories in different countries for analytes such as total sulfur dioxide, sugars and alcohol (Figure 1). This improvement has the potential to significantly reduce disputes when wine is tested in international markets for compliance with local regulations, giving Australian exporters greater confidence in their ability to export wines to these countries. The program has been such a success that there has been overwhelming support for its continuation past the end of the funding window for the APEC WRF.
The project team continued to participate at the OIV as members of the DAWR-led Australian delegation, together with a representative from WFA. Numerous draft OIV proposals were reviewed through participation in the Microbiology, Technology, Specifications of Oenological Products, Food Safety and Consumption and Nutrition and Health expert groups, and the Methods of Analysis Sub-commission. Project staff also participated in several electronic working groups. Additional information was prepared and presented to support Australian-initiated draft resolutions and dossiers on dimethylpolysiloxane and protease enzymes, since although these processing aids are permitted in Australia, they not yet permitted for winemaking under OIV regulations.