Who regulates labelling in Australia?

Hands up if you love bag of chips. Maybe you are a traditionalist and you go for sea salt or salt and vinegar. Maybe you sit some where in the middle and you choose, let’s say cheese and onion. Or perhaps you go further a field, like me on the weekend, and go for a pack of Doritos southern fried chicken flavour (don’t bother, they are terrible). You start munching down, and on about your third delicious mouthful you wonder to yourself; “ How have they made these chips taste so good?”.

Well, the answers to that question lie in plain sight on the back of the bag. A bag of chips and all food is required by law to list all ingredients used. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), who is part of the Australian Federal Government, governs this. FSANZ also govern the laws and guidelines of wine labelling. Under the current laws set out by the FSANZ, winemakers and producers are not required to list any of the many possible additives and preservatives they may use in the production of their wine. Why is it that wine does not face the same tough labelling laws as packaged and unpackaged foods? There are many methods a winemaker can use to alter the end result of a wine, yet they do not have to list these on their labels. Seems a bit bizarre to me. If you are curious, have a look at the Australian Wine Research Institute website here.


*Image used under creative commons 2.0. Photograper: Dan Domme.

What’s really in your wine?

I’m not alone when I say I enjoy a glass of wine or several. Australians currently guzzle our way through approximately 460 million litres of the stuff each year, with this figure very likely set to rise in to the future. That’s a lot of grape juice. Or is it? Under current labeling laws and guidelines in Australia, winemakers and suppliers are not required to fully disclose all additives and preservatives that they may be adding to perfect a drop. Let me just say that these additives and preservatives are not necessarily all bad, but I’m sure you would agree too, that you would like to know if you are drinking them.

What I want to do through this blog is to offer some education on some of these additives and preservatives used in the production of wine. I hope that by equipping wine drinkers with this information that it may help to guide them towards wines that advocate for the use of minimal additives and preservatives. Furthermore, I hope that the work displayed through follow up posts will further spark the debate as to why there are no laws requiring wine makes and producers to list, if any, preservatives and additives used in the production of a wine.