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Monday, 24 September 1906

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) . - -I sympathize with the view presented by Senator Symon, though I have to confess to a very large amount of ignorance about this subject. I have held the opinion, from what I have heard from wine drinkers, that one of the complaints against Australian wines is that they are too highly alcoholic.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - That has been one of our greatest drawbacks as a wine-producing country.

Senator TRENWITH - I am at a loss to understand how that affects the trade. When I was in England a few years ago, Australian wines were being extensively advertised all over the United Kingdom, and I concluded very largely used, because the advertising must have cost many thousands of pounds. Unless the Minister can say something which will alter my mind, I am disposed to vote for the amendment, so that the degree to which wines may be fortified shall not be increased ; but I hesitate as to what I should do, because of an interjection made by him that it is necessary for export purposes to fortify up to 40 degrees. I do not know whether, by refusing our vignerons the right to fortify to that strength, we may not be limiting their market. Senator Symon referred to heavier wines. He did not say whether they are more highly fortified, or naturally more alcoholic.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Does the honorable senator refer to Australian wines ?

Senator TRENWITH - To wines used in England which do not come from Australia.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - I cannot say what the strength of spirit in some of the heavy ports is, but I should think about 35 degrees. That is not due to fortification; it is natural to the wines.

Senator TRENWITH - I am of opinion that we ought not to do anything which would .tend to bring about the sale of wines of high alcoholic strength. If we can get sound wines, it is better to have them of a low alcoholic strength.

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