ACCC commences market study

Following an online survey of the nation’s wine grapegrowers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published an Issues Paper summarising the study.

The survey encouraged grapegrowers to share their experiences in terms of their relationships with wineries. Questions asked related to contracting practices, competition among wine grape buyers, reliability and transparency of pricing information, quality assessment of wine grapes, timing of payment, the Industry Code of Conduct, and available mechanisms for dispute resolution, and collective bargaining.

The survey enabled the ACCC to learn about the interactions of growers and buyers of wine grapes, how they do business and to identify any issues that require particular attention. The responses highlighted various ways in which the market may not be functioning effectively, and also indicated that some concerns, including concerns relating to contracting practices, competition and pricing, are generally more prevalent in warm climate regions than in cool climate regions.

The study examines competition, contracting practices, transparency, and risk allocation issues in the wine grape supply chain.

The ACCC is now seeking submission on a number of key issues including:

  • the level of competition between purchasers of wine grapes
  • bargaining power and risk allocation across the entire supply chain, particularly in relation to growers and winemakers
  • issues around price transparency and quality assessment
  • the nature of contracts between growers and winemakers (including the timing of price notifications and payments)
  • the effect of the existing voluntary industry Code and dispute resolution processes; and
  • the use of collective bargaining by growers.

The ACCC want to hear from anyone involved in the industry and will accept written and oral submissions in response to the Issues Paper, on a confidential or anonymous basis.

Public forms will be held in a number of wine grape growing areas to allow the ACCC to hear directly from interested stakeholders. The dates and locations of the consultation forums will be available on the ACCC’s website soon.

The market study is open for submissions until November 2, 2018. The wine grapes survey and issues paper is available on the ACCC’s website.

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