Organic wine moves out of a niche into the mainstream

Global consumption of organic wine is on track to hit almost one billion bottles a year by 2023, more than doubling over the space of a decade, driven by concerns about sustainability.

Millésime Bio, the French organic wine fair
Millésime Bio, the French organic wine fair

Driven by concerns about the climate crisis and environmental issues, organic wine has gone from a niche category to a significant segment of the wine industry. According to the French organic wine fair Millésime Bio, global organic wine consumption is on track to hit almost one billion bottles a year by 2023.

“From what was a relatively niche segment a decade ago, the organic wine market has become a driving force in the wine category globally,” says Olivier Goué, project manager of Millésime Bio, the French organic wine fair. “It’s the fastest growing segment currently showing double-digit growth.”

Massive growth predicted

According to a recent study commissioned by SudVinBio and conducted by drinks research group IWSR, “organic wine consumption is forecast to increase to 976 million bottles in 2023, up 34% from 729m bottles at the end of 2018, and more than double from 441m bottles in 2013.” The report goes on to say that the sharp increase contrasts with “the steady decline of wine consumption globally and reflects the ongoing shift to better quality wines produced to higher standards of sustainability.”

“It is expected to continue to perform well over the next few years, as the wines resonate with increasingly health and environmentally-conscious consumer,” says Goué.
Nicholas Richarme, president of SudVinBio says that the research demonstrates that consumers are rejecting the use of pesticides and other chemicals used in food production that can damage the environment.  “This trend will only increase as large and small vignerons switch to more sustainable winemaking, and retailers stock a large range of organic wines to meet rising consumer demand.”

The rise of demand for organic products is also dovetailing with other trends, particularly the growth of demand for sparkling wine.

The report says that consumption of organic sparkling wine in five key markets (France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the US) rose at an average of 19.1% a year between 2013 and 2018. “This trend is set to continue as the study forecasts an average increase in organic sparkling wine consumption of 8.2% a year in those markets for the period 2018 to 2023. The organic wine market was worth €3.3bn ($3.67bn) in the top five consuming countries at the end of 2018.

Of the five markets, France is on track to become the biggest consumer of organic wine by 2023, followed by Germany and then the US.

In the vineyard

Goué says that wine producers in key regions such as France, Italy, Spain and Germany have heavily increased their organic production, with “Occitania remaining the largest organic wine producing region in France. We anticipate that this trend will continue and will be driven by both France and Spain.”

By 2023, Spain is forecast to have three times the number of organic vineyards it did in 2013, to a total of 160,000ha.

The research was commissioned in advance of the Millésime Bio organic wine trade show, which will take place in Montpellier in France in late January. The event is organised by SudVinBio, the association for southern France’s organic winemakers. As of 2019, the fair is also open to other organic beverages, such as cider, beer and spirits.

The report is freely available,  in French. To receive a copy, please contact Céline Bouteiller at [email protected]

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