Every year for the past 28 years, Millésime Bio, the international organic wine fair, has taken place at the end of January. This major event for the industry, both for buyers and winegrowers, is an opportunity to take stock of the market from the supply side and in terms of demand. We take a closer look at this dynamic sector.
- Rising consumption
- A market showing constant growth
- Sales outlets
- Sustained growth on the supply side
- Leading French regions
As Jeanne Fabre of Domaines Famille Fabre in Languedoc and chair of the Millésime Bio committee points out: “The ongoing Covid crisis has weakened the wine industry, but the latest figures published by Agence Bio last July offer a source of hope: consumption of organic food, and particularly organic wine, continues to expand. The crisis has led to a heightened sense of awareness marked by a shift in consumption patterns towards more ethically made products, with a preference for local and organic”.
A market showing constant growth
According to latest OIV data (International Organisation of Vine & Wine), organic wine consumption in 2018 accounted for 4.7% of wine consumption in France by volume. Organic wine purchases by the French were estimated to be worth 979 million euros in 2019, an increase of 5% compared to 2018. In one decade, between 2010 and 2019, the market has grown almost four-fold. Organic wines are a booming segment, with consumers increasingly keen to try them. In fact, for some categories, supply cannot keep pace with demand.
46% of organic wines (by value) are sold direct-to-consumers. This is the only aspect of the wine industry where direct-to-consumer sales are the main marketing channel. Consumers like to buy their organic wines straight from the grower. Wine merchants and supermarkets provide outlets for 22% of sales each whilst 10% of the wines are sold in specialist organic shops. Unsurprisingly, following the COVID-19 pandemic, French supermarkets sold 250 million euros worth of organic wines (in hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and drive-ins) in 2020, an increase of 5% compared to 2019 according to IRI distributor panels.
Sustained growth on the supply side
In France, 112,000 ha were farmed organically in 2019 (AB certified and in the switch-over phase) by 8,039 farms (+20% vs. 2018). This represents over 14% of vineyard acreage nationwide. The increase is constant and progressing at a sustained rate with a rise of 23% on 2018. The same year, 1,313 new farms switched to organic, compared with 891 in 2018, 572 in 2017 and 87 in 2016.
The leading French regions
According to Agence Bio, four wine regions account for 72% of volumes marketed. Ranking highest is the Occitania region, which farms 38% of France’s organic vineyards, equating to 42,424 ha (AB certified and conversions) producing around 1 million hl of organic wine in 2019.
In second position is Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur with 23,012 ha (AB certified and conversions) then New Aquitaine with 19,696 ha (AB certified and conversions). Auvergne Rhône-Alpes is in fourth place with 7,570 hectares (AB certified and conversions). Interestingly, when listed by department, Gironde ranks first!