Code signed to protect Aussie winemakers

Australian winemakers will be treated more fairly and receive better protection when dealing with supermarket giant Woolworths, if a new code implemented after 12 months of negotiations is successful.

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The Wine Federation of Australia signed the code this week

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and Woolworths Liquor Group (WLG), the largest drinks retailer in Australia, have been in talks for the last 12 months to agree a code of best practice with the aim of giving winemakers better protection when negotiating with the supermarket giant. 

Called Good Wine Buyer and Suppler Principles: A Code of Fairness and Transparency, it is a voluntary, principles-based agreement outlining standards for behaviours and business practices with the aim of fostering honesty and transparency.

Tony D’Aloisio, WFA president, said it was an “important step” for Australia’s wine industry in improving profitability and in giving wine suppliers more power when negotiating.

He said: “We have built into the principles an independent dispute resolution process should issues arise between WLG and a wine supplier. The Federation will monitor implementation and a further strength is that the principles will be reviewed every two years to ensure they remain robust and improvements can be made.

“A plain English guide to the principles has also been developed to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of what to expect in negotiations and their commercial relationships with WLG.”

The setting of retail pricing was not included in the agreement.

The WFA represents all of Australia’s winemakers and its 380 members make up some 90% of the industry by value.

The main elements of the code cover issues such as open, honest and early communication; repect of the other’s rights to set retail and wholesale prices, protection of intellectual property and process to resolve disputes.

The code applies to all wine suppliers dealing with WLG and not just Federation members.

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