A wine exporter who admitted to falsifying export documents has pleaded guilty but is hoping for a discharge without conviction.

Joyce Austin, director of Zealand Boutique Wines since 2002, admitted at Christchurch District Court to getting five wineries to provide false export papers for wines which had Export Eligibility Approval, before exporting wines which were not those listed. The prosecution is the first of its kind under the Wine Act 2003.

The wineries involved have been granted interim name suppression – a move which has been opposed by Austin’s counsel, who say that the wineries were just as involved as Austin. There is understood to be no charges laid against the wineries so far.

Austin will be sentenced in Auckland on December 21.