South Australia - Producer’s Licence
In South Australia, many cellar doors are operated pursuant to a “Producer’s Licence”. This licence category allows “take away” sales, and also allows for “sampling” and “dining” authorisations to be added for limited “on premise” supply of liquor.
The key restriction on the Producer’s Licence is that limiting sales in most cases to the licensee’s “own product”.
For wine to be your “own product”:
(a) it must be fermented by you, or “under your direction” (or if it is a blend, be produced from Australian primary produce and a substantial portion be fermented by or under direction of licensee); and
(b) it must be uniquely your own product; and
(c) you must have assumed the financial risk of the production of the wine.
The definition of “own product”, does allow you to use a contract winemaker. The requirement is that the fermentation be “under the direction of” the licensee – it is vital that this is reflected in the contract with, and in your practical relationship with, the contract winemaker.
It must be apparent that you have given direction in the winemaking process, and have not put yourself entirely in the hands of the contract winemaker. A properly constructed written contract with your contract winemaker is highly advisable.
New South Wales – Producer/Wholesaler Licence
In New South Wales, prior to 2008, the “Off Licence (Vigneron)” category was the predominant licence type used for cellar door operations.
Under the current licensing regime, the most common licence category for a “cellar door” business is a Producer/Wholesaler Licence.
Most relevantly, where this category of licence is used by a wine producer, the right to sell liquor is limited to the sale of “licensee’s product”, which includes where:
(a) it has been produced on the licensed premises (or a vineyard related to the licensed premises) from fruit grown or honey produced on the licensed premises or vineyard; and
(b) it is uniquely the licensee’s (or a related corporation of the licensee’s) own product, but only if that product contains not less than a percentage of wine, as prescribed by the regulations, that has been produced:
- by or under the direction of the licensee (or a related corporation of the licensee) on the licensed premises or a vineyard related to the licensed premises, or
- on the licensee’s behalf from fruit grown on the licensed premises or a vineyard related to the licensed premises
(c) for the purposes of the above requirements, a a vineyard is "related" to licensed premises if it is operated by the licensee (or a related corporation of the licensee), and is within 500 metres of the licensed premises
(d) for the purposes of the above requirements, the prescribed minimum percentage of wine is 50% in the case of wine that has been produced by or under the direction of the licensee (or a related corporation of the licensee) on the licensed premises or a vineyard related to the licensed premises, and 85%-in the case of wine that has been produced on the licensee’s behalf, or under the direction of the licensee or a related corporation of the licensee, from fruit grown on the licensed premises or a vineyard related to the licensed premises.
Queensland – Wine Producer Licence
In Queensland, the “Wine Producer Licence” allows the licensee to sell the “licensee’s wine”, being wine at least 85% of which is:
(a) made from fruit grown on the licensed premises by the licensee; or
(b) made on the licensed premises by the licensee.
An authority can also be sought to allow the licensee to sell wine other than the licensee’s own wine, subject to the restriction that the amount of any such wine sold in a financial year must not exceed the amount of licensee’s wine sold in that year.
Queensland wine producers are required by law to maintain certain records including details of all fruit grown on the premises, fruit sourced from others, wine production on the premises, and wine produced by others.
Tasmania – Special Licence
Most cellar doors operate under a “Special Licence”. The specific conditions of each Special Licence will govern what wine can and cannot be sold – this will usually be limited to Tasmanian or local wine.
Under the legislation, “Tasmanian wine” is defined wine produced in Tasmania from fruit of which at least 85% is grown in Tasmania.
Depending on the specific licence and circumstances, there may also be a condition requiring that the majority (or some other, fixed proportion) of the grapes used in the production of the wine to be sold be sourced from the licensee’s vineyard.
Victoria – Wine and Beer Producer’s Licence, Renewable Limited Licence
The category of licence intended for use by cellar door operators is the “Wine and Beer Producer’s Licence” (which replaced the former “Vigneron’s Licence” category). Further, in some circumstances, a “Renewable Limited Licence” might be used for a cellar door business.
Under a Wine and Beer Producer’s Licence, “off premise” sales (and, in some cases, on-premise sales) will be limited to the “licensee’s product”. In the case of wine, “licensee’s product” is wine which:
(a) has been made from fruit grown by the licensee and the licensee has assumed the financial risk of the production; or
(b) has been made under the direction of the licensee from fruit grown in Australia that was not grown by the licensee and the licensee has assumed the financial risk of the production.
Aside from the Wine and Beer Producer’s Licence (and, formerly, the Vigneron’s Licence) some producers operate their cellar door under a Renewable Limited Licence, which typically have conditions which restrict the liquor which can be sold – for example, “wine produced from grapes grown by the licensee”.
Western Australia - Producer’s Licence
In Western Australia, the relevant licence category is that of “Producer’s Licence”.
A Producer’s Licence allows the sale of “liquor produced by the licensee”. For wine, this means wine:
(a) fermented by, or under the control or direction of, the licensee or
(b) if, in the case of wine produced by blending, all the wine used was fermented from produce grown or produced in Australia.
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