Cask wine may be hit by new taxes, but Australian invention creates export opportunity for casks

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th April 2016

WineThe Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is calling on the Federal Government to apply heavier taxes to cheap alcohol including wine sold in casks.

Although the wine cask was invented in South Australia in the 1960s, the RACP says the current Australian taxation system is too easy on high-volume binge drinkers.

The current taxation policy, Wine Equalisation Tax (WET), applies the tax based on a rate where the more expensive a wine product is retailed for, the higher the tax.

RACP President Laureate Professor Nick Talley said it is time for a new approach to reduce alcohol-related harm.

“The impact alcohol is having on both individuals and society is hugely significant, with alcohol consumption being a casual factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions,” Professor Talley said.

“The annual cost of alcohol related harm is estimated to be as high as AUD$36 billion. There is currently a huge gap to what is being taxed and what the social costs actually are,” he stated.

Professor Talley said that a proportion of any funds from increased taxes should be used for alcohol treatment services and harm prevention programs.

Accolade bottles its wine in UK out of big bladder export

Although the RACP is lobbying against cask wine to increase its taxation, meanwhile one South Australian company is expanding its overseas bottling facilities due to the big demand growth for its Australian-grown wines which are exported in giant bladders.

The bladders are not the usual retail-size with Fairfax reporting that each bladder has a huge 24, 000 litre capacity.

Accolade Wines announced on 22 March 2016 that it will be expanding its UK bottling facilities after discovering the cheapest way to export their wine was to first put it in cask bladders for transportation. Its Hardys, Banrock Station, Echo Falls and Kumala wines are then bottled locally in the UK.

“The facility is critical to our ability to deliver quality wines and packaging innovation to the major retailers in the UK and our customers across Europe,” said Chief Executive Officer of Accolade Wines Paul Schaafsma.