WA wine industry welcomes amendments to cellar door mail-order sales restrictions

Western Australia’s peak wine industry body has welcomed a move by the State Government to amend restrictions on alcohol sales announced to curve panic buying due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the WA Government said the changes would restrict the sale of packaged alcoholic beverages and would include a limit of three bottles of wine per customer.

Wines of WA says the move would have crippled many wine producers.

“This would have effectively shut down many WA wine producers,” said Wines of WA CEO Larry Jorgensen.

“Many rely on direct sales to consumers for up to 80% of their sales. With visitation to cellar doors in regions down significantly because of the impact of coronavirus, their only channel to market is mail-order and online sales to their existing customer database.

“Many would have shut the doors or reduced staffing levels. This will allow them to continue operating and keep their employees working which is very important for regional WA at this point.”

The director for Liquor Licensing on Friday issued an amendment to the restrictions that will allow WA wine producers to sell one carton of 12 x 750 ml bottles per week to each customer via mail order or online. Additionally, they can fulfil all wholesale orders as required.

Jorgensen noted, “Given the circumstances our community is currently facing, we appreciate that this message was considered by the director and Minister [Paul] Papalia to ensure appropriate action was taken to provide a workable solution in a very short time-frame”.

He further noted, “For most of our customers, wine is a hobby and buying to cellar has been a long-established buying pattern – they have always purchased wine by the carton to be cellared and enjoyed in the future”.

“While many typically purchase more than one carton at a time for this purpose, they will be happy with this outcome.”

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