Organic wine is becoming increasingly popular despite the current [global] recession. A recent report from New Zealand (launched in parliament 6th March) details how the organic sector has grown in value by around 25% (in the past three years) and has continued to grow in value at an average of 8% per annum. The continual demand for ‘organic’ emphasises how consumers are seeking out food and drink that they can trust and enjoy, especially since the food scandals which have appeared in our news as of late. Researchers from the University of Otago and Agribusiness Group found that:

Organic wine has been the fastest growing production sector in the past three years. In New Zealand alone there are now over 100 organic vineyards, representing 7.6% of all vineyards in New Zealand.

– Organic dairy continues to grow rapidly – an increase of 33% since 2009.

– Organic gardening at home, in schools and in especially in community gardens is growing fast. It has been reported that there are now 3-4 times more organic community gardens in New Zealand than there were five years ago! Similarly many companies in the UK, not just limited to wine, have focused on organic methods.

– New markets for organics are growing – especially in Asia, with South Korea (11% of organic exports) overtaking Japan (9%) as the largest Asian market for NZ organics.

Overall the report has highlighted how the organic sector is diversifying as well as deepening; this extends to both producers and consumers. Will 2013 be a big year for organic products? We reckon so!

Celebrities turning to organic wines

Celebrities Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have recently purchased 1,000-acre Chateau Miraval in Correns, France which includes a 75-acre organic vineyard. They are expected to launch a variety of organic reds and whites within the next couple of years. Pitt and Jolie will continue to use sustainable methods of production, using only organic grapes. This means that no chemicals can or will be used on the grapes as these can enter the plant and then end up in the wine. No herbicides or pesticides are used, only naturally occurring compounds such as sulfates and copper sulphate.

More and more of us are becoming concerned with the environmental and social impacts of wine production and are thus turning to organic wines. Most organic wine companies pride themselves in carefully following organic viticulture and practices. In some cases this can be extended to biodynamic methods of production and strict vineyard treatments. Preservation of the environment is primarily the driving force behind organic methods.

 

How do wine companies become organic certified?

If you want to know what makes a company ‘organic’ then please read below (please note this is typically what is required for certification):

– Wine producers have to study the organic standards (this is every specific detail including farming, storage and sale).

– Facilities and production methods must comply and meet the standards.

– Extensive paperwork is required, including soil and water tests.

– An annual production plan must be submitted (this is extremely detailed, from seed to sale).

– Regular inspections are undertaken.

– Fee – an annual certification fee.

– Records must be taken every day and must be made available for inspection at any time.

– ECOCERT – is an independent company which certifies products from organic agriculture. ECOCERT has contributed to the development of organic farming since the 1990s.

  

Do you buy organic wines?

Organic wines are not necessarily identifiable by their labels therefore ask your wine shop for more information. They will usually be able to provide details on the wines vineyard and organic methods of farming.

It is predicted that organic wines will be in popular demand by the end of 2013. Organic wines are appearing more frequently on wine lists and at award winning restaurants. If you’re interested in organic wines then why not attend The Real Wine Fair? The Real Wine Fair runs from 17th-18th March 10am – 6pm. Sunday 17th March is open to the trade and public whereas Monday 18th March is trade only. It is the perfect opportunity to learn more about natural/organic wines and take home a few bottles!

If you have any comments or questions regarding organic wines the please feel free to leave a message below.