Wolf Blass fights to close NZ tax loophole

Australian winemaker Wolf Blass is fighting to close a tax loophole allowing New Zealand competitors to claim millions each year in wine tax rebates from Australia.

wolf Blass

Australia’s Wine Equalization tax rebate was originally set up to support smaller domestic producers allowing winemakers to claim back up to $500,000, based on the wholesale price of their wine.

However a trade treaty has enabled New Zealand wine producers to also access the rebate NZ competitors to claim around AUD$25 million (£13.7m) in annual rebates off Australia, while also representing New Zealand’s largest export market.

Speaking to Laura Poole of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Blass said: “The competitor, New Zealand, they have flooded our market now with 16% and we have a 25% surplus, you don’t have to be Einstein to see that something has to be done.”

“16% from one country is not acceptable and we are supporting their country which is just ridiculous,” he said.

The Wolf Blass foundation is now funding a study on the legality of axing the rebate for New Zealand.

Blass highlighted the reasoning behind the study: “This project now, tackling a(sic) issue with the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET), is probably the most important issue we have ever tackled.”

As to why, Blass replied: “For the simple reasons, the wine industry is in diabolical trouble, the grape growers and winemakers are in big trouble, we got a 25% surplus.”

The Wine Equalisation Tax is a value based tax on wine consumed in Australia set at 29% of the wholesale value but wineries can claim a rebate of up to $AUD500,000 (£277,000), originally set up support smaller domestic producers, but it is currently estimated at least $AUD25 million (£13,859,000) worth of rebates are being claimed by New Zealand through free trade provisions.

As for what Australia should do with the money, Blass had a suggestion: “We need to be able to promote Australian wine in the US, Canada and in Europe to sell our excess which is sitting here and destroying the industry structure morally, physically and financially.”

As reported in the drinks business Wolf Blass has a track record in these markets.

The support from the rebates help smaller operators run their businesses and turn a profit, but Blass made assurances they were not the target even though he has form in attacking smaller Australian producers.

“We are only interested in tackling New Zealand, we are only interested at this point in time in tackling New Zealand,” he said.

3 Responses to “Wolf Blass fights to close NZ tax loophole”

  1. Philip Woollaston says:

    It is ridiculous to call this a ‘loophole’. It is a logical result of the CER trade agreement between our two countries. The same agreement that means that much of the wine and most of the processed food in our supermarkets is Australian! All it do is level the playing field, so wineries on both sides of the Tasman are treated equally. Wolf Blass cannot have it both ways, if they want small New Zealand producers to face trade barriers in Australia then they will have to accept the same for their own wine which floods the cheap shelves in our supermarkets.

  2. Mark cohen says:

    Why don’t Australia wineries get the same rebate exporting to NZ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Representative - Private Customers

Corney and Barrow
Central Hong Kong, HK

Export Manager UK On Trade

AdVini
Home based in London or the South East, GB

Global Head of Marketing

ATOM Brands
Tunbridge Wells, GB

Sales Executive

Three Wine Men
Home-based but must be available to travel throughout the UK with frequent trips to London, GB

Senior Sales Operations Executive

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

On Trade & Corporate Accounts Manager

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Customer Service Assistant

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Key Account Manager - Distilling Sector - Scotland

Boortmalt
Scotland - call for exact details, UK

UK Brand Ambassador - Ableforth’s

ATOM Brands
Field-based, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2018

VinoVision Paris

Paris,France
12th Feb 2018

Vinisud

Montpellier,France
18th Feb 2018
Click to view more

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2018

Deadline : 26th January 2018

Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2018

Deadline : 23rd February 2018

Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more