The World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) is an informal group of government and industry representatives from the wine-producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. Founded in 1998, the Group aims to facilitate international trade in wine through information sharing, discussion of regulatory issues in wine markets, and joint actions for the removal of trade barriers. The WWTG has negotiated three agreements and one MOU that promote international wine trade.
The Group is guided by principles that facilitate trade in wine and protect consumers, benefiting both wine exporting and importing countries. The WWTG recognizes the unique characteristics of each regulatory system and works towards the mutual acceptance of practices and labelling rather than imposing a single regulatory approach.
The WWTG also provides an invaluable platform for sharing intelligence and coordinating positions regarding obstacles to trade. Usual issue topics include: trends in wine production, consumption and trade; developments in wine regulation and labelling, intellectual property and sustainability issues; changing viti-vinicultural practices; bilateral and regional trade negotiations; and wine issues in multilateral fora such as the Codex Alimentarius, OIV, and the WTO.
The WWTG generally meets twice a year with one annual and one intersessional meeting. Non-member countries and industry organizations are encouraged to participate in the meetings as observers. National governments or members of the World Trade Organization interested in furthering WWTG goals are welcome.
The MAA recognises that each WWTG member has established
acceptable mechanisms for regulating wine-making practices, and in turn
agrees to accept the wine-making practices of all other Parties. It is intended
to facilitate trade in wine, and to avoid the imposition of obstacles to
such trade, through Parties permitting the importation of wine produced in
another Party that is produced in accordance with that other Party’s laws,
regulations and requirements related to oenological practices and the
mechanism to regulate them.
The MAA is not a single set of wine-making standards. Rather, it provides for mutual recognition of oenological practices approved by each Party. This also enhances the international acceptability of wine produced in WWTG countries. Adoption of the principles of the MAA by additional countries would facilitate trade in wine, both within the region and internationally. This could provide a significant benefit both to emerging wine industries and consumers within these countries.
The MAA benefits winemakers, exporters and importers by assuring them access to markets without the costs and frustrations of trade barriers based on differences in wine-making practices.
The Labelling Agreement enables wine exporters to sell wine into WWTG markets without having to redesign all of their labels for each individual market. Under the Labelling Agreement, the WWTG participants have agreed to a ”single field of vision” approach to wine labelling, whereby four key common items of information (country of origin, product name, net contents, and alcohol content) are deemed to comply with domestic labelling requirements if they are presented together in any single field of vision on the container. In early 2013 phase two of the Labelling Agreement was concluded through the Protocol to the Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labelling. This extends the earlier Agreement on Labelling by providing for a degree of harmonisation of rules regarding alcohol tolerance, variety, wine region and vintage.
The Labelling Agreement means that consumers are able to easily locate important items of information on the bottle in a single field of vision allowing ease in the comparison of different wines. In addition, the Agreement benefits producers and suppliers by reducing the costs of production, application, warehousing, and label usage. Gains can be made from economies of scale, and savings achieved from label printing costs, and production line costs (because of fewer stoppages).
These principles set a positive benchmark in wine labelling, promoting clarity and consistency in information shown across different markets. These principles could provide the basis for a global standard if adopted by sufficient international bodies and countries – given that Codex Alimentarius Commission does not have an international standard for wine labelling.
Many countries require certification of compositional
requirements for wine, which can act as an unnecessary barrier to
trade, particularly when they do not relate to a health or safety issue in
relation to wine, or when the exporting country already has adequate
systems in place to address such issues.
The Certification MOU facilitates international trade in wine, by providing that routine certification of wine composition should not be required other than on health and safety grounds consistent with WTO rules, as well as requiring that any certification must be in line with Codex standards.
WWTG Government Statements
WWTG Pesticide MRL Matrix (updated August 2013)