Chinese Customs has blocked the entry of four tons of Australian wines citing contaminated cork as the main cause for its decision, as relations between the two trading partners sinks to all time low.
According to an announcement published by Chinese Customs on January 20, about 3.89 tons of wines from Coonawarra-based Ladbroke Grove Wines were refused entry into China because the corks are said to be contaminated with mold, according to the Customs.
The wines include 1.7 tons of 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.75 tons of 2002 Cabernet Merlot blend, and 356.4kg of 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cork is subject to expansion and shrinking in response to climactic changes. If air is too dry, it will dry out corks, causing oxidation and seepage, while if humidity is too high, it can promote fungal growth and mold.
It’s not unusual though for old vintages to develop mold. Most aged wines tucked away in damp cellar developed mold over the years.
Customs in recent months have stepped up checks on Australian wines, after China slapped two rounds of punitive tariffs on China-bound Australian wines.
Australian wine exports to China reportedly have fallen by 98% from October to December after up to 212.1% anti-dumping tariff and another 6.4% anti-subsidy tariff, which took effect in late November and early December last year respectively,
Exports have since dropped by AU$158 million – down from AU$162 million in October to AU$4 million in December, with red wine exports taking the biggest hit.
Relations between China and Australia have been on the rocks since Morrison government’s call for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus. In response, China has imposed restrictions or tariffs on Australian barley, beef, wine, coal, seafood, copper, cotton and timber.
Established in 1982, Ladbroke Grove is a relatively old Coonawarra brand and makes three ranges of wines, Ladbroke Grove, Cloverleaf and Coonawarra Estate.