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More wineries urged to sign Code of Conduct

More wineries should heed the call of their national body and sign up to the Australian Wine Industry Code of Conduct, says Murray Valley Winegrowers chief executive officer Mike Stone.

Stone says the Code was finalised and signed in December 2008 by Wine Grape Growers' Australia (WGGA) and Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFFA) after industry representatives campaigned for several years for a code to improve commercial relationships between growers and winemakers.

“With the 2010 harvest rapidly approaching, it’s timely for wineries to review current grower contracts to see if they can readily incorporate the Code provisions,” Stone said.

“Wineries that sign the code agree to minimum standards for agreements between growers and grape buyers.”

Stone says a major component of the Code is prescribed “Dispute Resolution provisions”, which give growers the opportunity to refer disputes over price or fruit assessment to an independent expert for determination.

“In addition to the dispute resolution provisions, the Code also stipulates standards for the timing of price advice and method of determining price, terms of payment, fruit assessment and grading procedures.

“The code provides the framework for fairer commercial arrangements, with signatories agreeing to standards that will provide for greater transparency, certainty and protection in growers’ dealings with winegrape buyers.

“Widespread adoption will ensure that the code delivers on its potential.”

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