“Beer is pretty well taxed. What’s charged depends on alcohol content and the consumer price index, which is why from time to time the manufacturers cut their alcohol content, to control costs.
“But the rules for wine are ‘incoherent’, to use the term applied by the Henry Tax Review. Cheap wine is barely taxed at all, and (astonishingly) its alcohol content doesn’t matter.
“This means the cheapest, strongest, most-destructive wine is likely to be taxed the least. Which isn’t new. John Howard introduced the so-called Wine Equalisation Tax in 2000. Byrne says it’s likely to be remembered as one of Australia’s worst ever taxes.
“What is new is that people are switching from fully-taxed beer to barely-taxed wine, partly for that reason.”
‘Money down the drain: how wine is emptying the federal budget’
Sydney Morning Herald
February 28, 2018