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Code of Conduct comes into force

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and Wine Grape Growers’ Australia (WGGA) have agreed to a voluntary Code of Conduct for the Australian wine industry, signifying a landmark achievement between grapegrowers and winemakers.

The Code came into effect on 1 January this year, however, only the Dispute Resolution System will be in place for the 2008 vintage. All other features of the Code will not be applicable until the 2009 vintage.

The major intention of the voluntary Code is to set minimum standards for agreements between winegrape growers and winegrape purchasers. Signatories agree that the provisions of the Code will govern their contracts.

Breaches of the Code with be dealt with by a Code Administration Committee which will comprise an independent chair and a representative of both the WGGA and WFA. The committee will also have the power to remove signatories and publish the names of wineries found in breach of the Code.

A formal independent review of the Code will be conducted after vintage 2010.

WGGA executive director Mark McKenzie said the ratifying of the Code was the culmination of over six years of negotiations, begun by Murray Valley Winegrowers’, the Riverland Winegrape Growers Association and the Riverina Winegrapes Marketing Board in 2001.

“The Code is a very significant step forward in improving the commercial culture of the industry,” WGGA executive director, Mark McKenzie, said.

“All parties involved have worked extremely hard to reach agreement on a voluntary Code of Conduct for our industry,” said WFA chief executive Stephen Strachan.

Strachan acknowledged the process of establishing the Code of Conduct had been a shared challenge and the agreement indicated a maturity of Australia’s wine industry in being able to “present a united front”.

WGGA chief executive Mark McKenzie discusses the features of the Code of Conduct for growers moving into Vintage 2008 in the January/February issue of The United Grower, featured in each issue of Australian Viticulture.

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