A Libertarian view of wine exports

A very interesting article about the vagaries of the Australian wine export market.


“Every wine that leaves these shores has to receive approval from Wine Australia, the statutory body responsible for export regulation. As well as analytical testing and checking to ensure the labels are correct, each wine is also tasted blind in Adelaide by a team of inspectors (winemakers, retailers, show judges) to ensure it is – in Wine Australia’s words – “sound and merchantable””

This informative article showed how much I knew about the Australian wine export market a big ZERO. Having a libertarian view of the world I was surprised that wine makers have to get permission to export their products, let alone that they have to pass a taste test.

“And as one disillusioned inspector told me: “I reckon about 95 per cent of the wines that we pass are only fair to mediocre. They’re not bad. They’re certainly not faulty. They’re just… plain. And sometimes I think, well, if these plain wines are the best representation of Australia overseas, then that’s pretty depressing.””

I would have thought the whole concept of what best represents Australian wine overseas has nothing to do with a statutory body responsible for granting export licenses. Furthermore there should be no Government or Industry body with the power to decide what types and styles of wines best represent Australia. In my view this would lead to a conflict between those producers that make bulk wines and those that concentrate on premium wines as these two markets are totally opposite to each other, while both fill legitimate market spaces.

“The whole experience made me feel that any wine that just looks a bit different is faulted,” says Nadeson. “The whole push now with Wine Australia is for individuality, to show that we’re not just one big factory. But if they really want to do that, they should promote wines that are a little bit different, not knock them on the head.”

With the push by Wine Australia for more individual wines, where dose this leave the bulk producers and especially new entrants into the bulk market. With this view, would another Yellow Tail every get up and exporting? It also shows that those smaller producers of quirky or premium wines that don’t fit a narrow definition of what a particular wine should taste like will have difficulty gaining export approval. I think Wine Australia should concentrate only on regulating that each wine is what the label says it is and leave the market to the individual wine producers to find their export markets. And everyone involved should get over the idea there should be a concept of what an Australian wine should be. Leave it up to individual consumers to decide what they think Australian wine should be. 

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1 Response to A Libertarian view of wine exports

  1. Jeanne says:

    A true libertarian view indeed
    How can in essence a committee come to agreement on anything other than a ‘consensus wine’

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