“Worldwide, organic wine purchases have doubled in eight years. France, with the second largest surface of organic vineyards in the world, has been switching more and more to meet this increased demand”
Part of the trend towards healthier, more sustainable products, organic wine sales are still booming, even though wine sales overall have been stagnant for the past three years. In the meantime, organic-wine sales have practically doubled since 2013! Just as a reminder, wine can be certified organic in Europe if it is grown without fertilizer or pesticides, but wine-growers are allowed to use limited amounts of sulfites, unlike for “natural” wines.
This enthusiasm for organic wine shows through clearly in the numbers. While it didn’t go beyond 1.5% in 2013, organics will account for 3.5% of the worldwide wine market in 2023.
France: Number One for Drinking Organic Wine
This past year, France took over the global top spot for drinking organic wine, overtaking Germany. The rise is general, however, particularly in Spain, where the domestic market is booming, and in the United States, the largest non-organic wine market in the world. It should soon overtake Italy as the third-largest market for non-organic.
To meet demand, the three main producers of organic wine – Italy, France, and Spain, are pulling out all the stops, increasing their vineyards’ switch to organic exponentially. Since 2018, France has overtaken Spain to become the world’s second-largest producer of organic wine (behind Italy).
14% of France vineyard surface area is certified organic
Proof of this enthusiasm, both surface area and sales increased more than twofold from 2012 to 2019. All together, by late 2019, the share of vineyard acreage certified as either already organic or in transition accounted for over 14% of the French total. And the sector has seen its revenue skyrocket to over €1.2 billion, thanks to consistently increasing demand, both domestic and export. Unlike Spain and Italy, which export the vast majority of their organic wine, the French prefer to drink their own, and export less than half of it.
For winegrowers, switching to organic takes time. The transition period takes three years, during which time yield will be significantly lower. But once they’ve obtained the precious label, their wine will sell for a higher price. According to the British International Wine and Spirit Review (IWSR), the average difference between an organic wine bottle and a conventional one is about 33%: €6.14 vs. €4.62.