Australia launches a wine directory to combat copycats

The Australian Ministry of Agriculture has announced the development of a ‘Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory’ to prevent “dodgy copies” of wines from being exported, especially to its most lucrative market – China.

“What we are saying is let’s give the brand some currency, and so we are creating a brand directory. You will not be able to export to anywhere around the world unless you are on this directory, and if you try to, we will stop you, and you will not get an export license. It’s as simple as that,” David Littleproud, the minister of agriculture, told The Advocate.

The directory reportedly will be have an in-depth and extensive database and will display a trademarked image of labels, the exporters ABN, brand name and date the label was published.

This is the latest effort by Australia to stamp out copycat wines at the source before they are exported elsewhere particularly China, its biggest export market by value, where fraudsters are faking wines from low-end Yellow Tail to Penfolds.

The announcement of the directory also came after Wine Australia was given broader powers last year to protect Australian wines’ intellectual property rights overseas.

Last July, Wine Australia suspended the export license of Dalefold Wines for mimicking Penfolds in China.

In its decision, the trade body said, Dalefold Wines had, “engaged in activity that aims to leverage from the reputation of another wine brand in China through causing consumer confusion.”

Australia’s wine exports to China including Hong Kong and Macau amounted to AU$1.14 billion in 2018, up by 18%, according to figures released by Wine Australia.

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