GOLD, silver and bronze medals on wine bottles recognise achievements won at wine shows around the country and the rules governing their use are under review.
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia is seeking feedback on its ‘Code of Practice for the Display of Awards’ by Thursday 30 October.
Federation Strategy and International Affairs general manager Tony Battaglene said the guidelines have been very well used by industry and, last updated seven years ago, are ripe for review.
“The Federation first introduced the guidelines in 2003 for the labelling of wine that had won awards at wine shows from the 2005 vintage onwards to give wine shows, winemakers and consumers some ground-rules to follow,” Battaglene said.
“We want the guidelines to help ensure the integrity of genuine wine show awards and to protect the value of show medals.
“The guidelines have been very well received by the industry and the wider community during this time and industry felt a review now would make sure the display of awards continues to hold value.
“The guidelines are often used by wine shows as a pre-requisite for entry and any company found to be in breach may be ineligible to compete.
“For example, the guidelines say the use of gold, black and gold, bronze and silver discs cannot be used on wine bottle labels for other purposes such as promoting anniversaries, events, sponsorships and the like.
“You can’t use a gold, silver or bronze disc attached to a label with writing saying things like ‘gold-medal standard wine’ or ‘big wine of the year’.
“The guidelines also prohibit the use of medals on wine labels to promote awards received by classes of wines such as ‘most successful exhibitor or winemaker of the year.”
During an interview with Grapegrower & Winemaker Wolf Blass, one of Australia’s leading winemakers, said he thought the idea of banning the use of medals on wine labels was “ridiculous” and didn’t make any sense.
“If I’m going to buy a bottle of wine and there’s a gold medal on it, I’m going to buy it. Simple as that,” he said.
“It’s about exposing your product to the public to give them the confidence in buying it.
“Can you imagine the frustration of somebody who has achieved something without getting recognised for it?
“The production people on the bottling line are determining what should be done but it should be the other way around.
“It should be the marketing people determining what should be done on the production line. That’s the fact.”
The ‘Code of Practice for the Display of Awards’ is online at www.wfa.org.au/assets/technical-and-packaging/Display-Awards-Code.pdf
Comments submitted by October 30 will be reviewed by the Federation and the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology.