The Board of Wine Australia has suspended the licence to export grape products from Australia held by Dalefold Wines (Australia) Pty Ltd with immediate effect and until further notice.
While the suspension remains in place, Dalefold Wines may not export wine from Australia.
Wine Australia is seeking further information from Dalefold Wines before deciding the length of the suspension and considering whether the licence should be cancelled.
Wine Australia last cancelled a licence in the 2015-16 financial year. This is the first time a licence has been suspended since new broadened regulatory powers were introduced in April this year (2018).
Wine Australia had collected and reviewed information in relation to a consignment of wine exported by Dalefold Wines on 20 June 2018 and other related matters.
Wine Australia presented the findings of its investigation to Dalefold Wines and suspended its licence after finding that:
- Dalefold Wines has exported three grape products from Australia that were not approved by Wine Australia and for which an export certificate was not in force. Accordingly, Dalefold Wines has contravened section 44 of the Wine Australia Act 2013 and the Wine Australia Regulations 2018.
- Dalefold Wines has engaged in activity that aims to leverage from the reputation of another wine brand in China through causing consumer confusion to the extent that is likely to:
- adversely affect the export trade in all grape products from Australia by diminishing consumer confidence in the integrity and authenticity of Australian grape products in China
- have a deleterious effect on the successful promotion of the export of grape products from Australia by diminishing consumer confidence in the integrity and authenticity of Australian grape products in China, and
- cause harm to the reputation of all Australian grape products, relations with importers, current promotional strategies, consumer sentiment in relation to exported Australian grape products, or the marketability of Australian grape products relative to competitors.
- Dalefold Wines is not a fit and proper person for the purposes of section 9(3)(g) of the Wine Australia Regulations 2018.
Changes to the Wine Australia Regulations 2018 earlier this year mean that other exporters may not export wine on behalf of Dalefold Wines now that its licence has been suspended.
Dalefold Wines may make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of this decision in accordance with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1995. The prescribed time for making an application under the Act is 28 days.
As this matter is subject to an ongoing investigation, Wine Australia is not able to comment further at this time.