Increasing Australia’s influence in market access, safety, regulatory and technical trade issues
Maintaining market access or opening markets for Australian wine, nationally and internationally, is facilitated by managing and reducing current and potential barriers to trade. The Australian wine industry needs to anticipate, facilitate and influence regulation of wine composition, production, labelling and marketing. The project team provides regulatory-related scientific and technical advice and assistance for the activities of key industry stakeholders. In addition, raising awareness of matters of concern to the Australian wine industry is achieved through representation at national and international industry forums.
Scientific and technical advice
Scientific and technical advice and assistance to the Australian wine industry were provided for a number of issues including the occurrence of certain heavy metals in Australian wine. Trace amounts of heavy metals naturally result from soil and groundwater being taken up by vines but can be considered barriers to trade in export markets such as China. The levels observed in wines including those exported from Australia were well below any regulatory limits established by other countries including that by the Organisation International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV). The presence of phthalates in wine was also investigated and the AWRI participated in OIV-led inter-laboratory ring tests that evaluated methods for the analysis of phthalates in wines. Phthalates were not detectable in any of the Australian wines analysed. Other market access issues investigated included adverse allergenic reactions to wine and the analysis of allergens in wine and associated labelling in different exports markets. The AWRI databases Analytical requirements for the export or Australian wine and Permitted additives and Processing aids for winemaking and wine importing countries were also updated. In addition to information for regional trading blocs, the former database currently contains information specific to 39 individual countries, and the latter for 18 individual countries.
Organisation de la Vigne et du Vin
The project team continued to participate at the OIV as members of the DA-led Australian delegation, together with representatives of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA). Creina Stockley served as President of the OIV’s Health and Safety Commission IV and also continued as a member of two OIV working groups — Taskforce on additives, and Taskforce on allergens.
The Taskforce on additives is currently preparing scientific and technical dossiers on additives and processing aids not currently permitted for winemaking by the Codex Alimentarius Commission via its Proposals for New and/or Revision of Food Additive Provisions. Countries that do not have or only have limited regulations for wine and winemaking often defer to the provisions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. In addition, numerous draft OIV proposals were reviewed through participation in the Technology, Methods of Analysis, Specifications of Oenological Products, Food Safety and Consumption, Nutrition and Health expert groups and their electronic working groups.
The role of the Taskforce on allergens is to coordinate analytical and clinical research on the potential for residual protein in protein-fined wine and its significance for human health. This research has been undertaken by Australia, France, Germany and Italy. During 2013/2014, the Taskforce on allergens finalised the code Good fining practice for wine to be applied after the use of proteinaceous [allergenic] wine fining agents [casein and egg white], which was adopted at the 2014 General Assembly and incorporated into European Commission regulations. This code supports the good winemaking practices of the Australian wine industry that advocate further fining and filtration after protein fining to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to wine from residual egg, fish and milk protein.
Additional information was prepared and presented to support the Australian-initiated draft resolutions and dossiers on agar, dimethylpolysiloxane, potassium carbonate and protease enzymes to the OIV expert groups as although these processing aids are permitted in Australia they not yet permitted for winemaking under OIV regulations.