Australia drops tasting panel to let natural wines be exported
Australia has dropped the requirement that all wines to be exported must pass a tasting panel. This is in response to faulty natural wines that often were stopped from being exported. When the current export controls were first introduced four decades ago, Australian table wine was hardly known overseas and there was a risk that even one faulty wine could hurt their reputation.
Exporters will no longer have to submit their wines for approval but they will be licensed and will be subject to audit, and must provide wine for comprehensive testing as required. Auditors visiting wineries will inspect records, examine labels and collect samples of exported wines.
The reality has been that some great (if unconventional) wines have been refused permission, even when they have buyers waiting overseas. One famous case was Gary Mills’ Mon Petite Francine who had buyers waiting in Japan for this bright, aromatic and drinkable Yarra Valley Cabernet Franc, which is naturally made and not altogether clear. But it was refused export permission because of its flavour.