A peak industry body, the Winemakers Federation of Australia, has been unable to save Australia's supposed showcase National Wine Centre in Adelaide and pulled out of the rescue deal it struck with the South Australian Government only last June.

As a result the Centre faces almost certain closure by the end of the month. The announcement was made at a press conference also attended by an insolvency expert Bruce Carter who will now oversee operations.

At the same time the State Treasurer (Finance Minister) Kevin Foley said no more taxpayer money would be put into the centre, which opened last year and has to date cost A$38m (US$21m).

The Government will underwrite functions booked between now and Christmas. But if Carter cannot produce a rescue plan by October 31 the Centre proper will close. The Federation was given the Centre at a peppercorn rent, a grant of A$500,00 and promise of an interest free loan of another A$250,000 next July. Despite this its chief executive Ian Sutton said: "The issue of insolvency was coming towards us."