The organic wines movement is in full flow, with record sales and more ecologically-driven vineyards than ever under conversion. It seems everywhere you look there is a new report driving home the fact that organic wines have been on a growth trajectory over the past years. And they are set to become even more popular.
According to Millésime Bio, French organic wine production has increased by 22% in 2020, and now 17% of the areas under vines are organic. And when all the facts are considered; it’s little wonder why organic is on the up.
Organic production signifies progress in the industry – just like it does across any industry. For a start, we know organic is better for the environment. It involves less fertiliser, fewer herbicides and therefore promotes greater biodiversity in the vineyard.
With the right approach, it can also make a more profitable economic model, as ultimately translates to better vineyard health and therefore longevity. Reports show that organic wine production can add as much as an extra decade to the lifetime of a vineyard.
And, as the industry matures, expertise and know-how are improving over time. Organic wine producers are starting to reap the rewards from their initial investments into skills, materials and equipment.
Consumers demand sustainability
But not only this. Critically, improved production methods mean lower costs for the producer, making organic wine more affordable than ever to the wine buyer.
Better quality, more affordable wines, coupled with more choice, heightened consumer awareness and a drive to promote sustainability; the organic market is now more buoyant than ever. It enjoyed 10 years of successive growth and was the fastest growing organic category in 2021, up 16.9%.
This is positive news indeed.
In an article we wrote for Organic September 2021, we determined that the biggest threat to the organic wines market was a lack of knowledge among consumers. We put forward that this could be remedied by the industry setting out a clear set of criteria to help consumers understand what makes organic wine different.
What makes a wine Organic?
Fast forward to 2022 and things are moving in the right direction.
Products labelled as organic must now meet precise regulations and criteria. So, all organic producers must adhere to the highest standards required for organic food under European laws. This includes providing clear information on how they have been grown and produced.
In a nutshell, it is now being more clearly communicated that organic wines:
– Contain no artificial preservatives or additives
– Conform to high standards of animal welfare
– Contain fewer pesticides – only 20 pesticides out of 300 are allowed as these are all derived from natural ingredients
– Conform to sustainable lines of production
– Contain no GMO (genetically modified ingredients)
With greater consumer awareness comes greater demand – especially if quality and price rivals that of mainstream wines.
And looking at how the movement to organic has gathered pace within the North South Wines portfolio, it’s obvious that many of the wine producers that we work with are determined to stay well ahead of the curve.
Our selection of top organic wines
For instance, 6.2% of NSW shareholder De Bortoli’s vineyards are organic with goals to increase this to 10% by 2025.
Monterey based Scheid Family Wines currently has 40% of their vineyards as organic, aiming to convert all its Monterey vines (some 2,800 acres) to organic by 2025, which will see them become the second largest organic vineyard in the US.
So, with Organic September coming to a close for another year, we can’t resist showcasing some of our favourite organic wines from our most valued partners – as picked by the North South Wines team.
See our top selection here, with some honourable mentions below:
– MontGras Organic Pinot Noir: Sourced from the cool Bio Bio Valley in Southern Chile, where this delicate grape ripens beautifully and develops expressive aromas.
– Cortese Nostru Carricante: More commonly associated with Etna, this is a big structured wine, with excellent acidity and minerality
– Fedele Bianco: A great value Catarratto blended with Grecanico and Inzolia
– Wildsong Syrah: Hawkes Bay made by King of Syrah, Rod MacDonald