15 November 2019. The organic wine industry is now worth more than a billion euros in the French market and as much as 1.5 billion euros including exports. And revenue is expected to increase further due to strong demand. According to a survey commissioned by Agence Bio and conducted by OpinionWay, 48% of French people want to find more organic wines in their usual places of purchase. Super/hypermarkets have taken this on board and continue to broaden their range. Their involvement has been rewarded as this is where organic wine sales grew the most in 2018 (+23%), reaching nearly 200 million euros. The increase now places them on a par with wine merchants (202 million euros) and specialist stores (218 million euros). Direct-to-consumer sales post revenue of €435 million.
12% of vineyards are organic
Current demand is outstripping production. 94,000 ha of vines, or 12% of French vineyard area, are now farmed organically (certified + conversion), and to meet demand, switch-overs are increasing with a surge of 63% in 2018. “In Occitania, there were 2,138 organic wine firms in 2018, an increase of 18.6% in one year. Areas in the conversion phase have increased by 70%”, said Thierry Julien, chairman of France Vin Bio.
More and more switch-overs
In New Aquitaine, the number of organic firms reached 1,085 (+13%/2017) and areas converting to organic increased by 62%. In the Loire and Centre-Loire Valley, the number of firms totalled around 500 (+13%) and areas being converted to organic have risen by 50%.
Comment: Accordong to the AAWE global organic vineyards stand at 403 000 ha (5.4% of global vineyards) reaching 545 000 ha by 2022. Spain (9%), Italy (10%) and Austria (11%) are the other leaders. Industry sources estimate South Africa at less than 2% (1 860 ha).