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Why Italy and Spain are the world champions of organic wine


On the occasion of the Millésime Bio fair, which takes place from Monday to Wednesday in Montpellier, "20 Minutes" looked at the solid advance in this field from our European neighbors

Bottles of organic wine produced in Catalonia, at the Millésime bio show - Alain ROBERT / Sipa / SIPA

  • Spain and Italy are the world leaders in terms of organic wine, respectively in terms of vineyard areas and the number of bottles produced.
  • Why ? Thanks to the dry, hot and windy climate of its countries, and because some of their regions started organic much earlier than elsewhere.

If they are rare on the tables, organic wines continue to nibble on market share. According to a study by Millésime Bio, the world of organic growths, the 27th edition of which will take place from Monday to Wednesday in Montpellier, the consumption of organic wine in 2013 represented 1.5% of the world wine market, and 2.85% in 2019.

By 2023, the market will have more than doubled in ten years and could reach 3.5% of sales on the planet Pinard, if we are to believe the forecasts. And in this area, the Italians and the Spaniards dominate the world: with 708 million bottles produced in 2018, Italy is the country that produces the most organic wine, while Spain has the largest certified organic area, with 89,600 hectares.

#MILLESIMEBIO - By 2023, #France will have the 2nd largest #bio vineyard in the world!
© 2020 Organic Vintage Study

- Millésime Bio (@MillesimeBio) January 14, 2020

#MILLESIMEBIO - By 2023, #France will strengthen its position as the 2nd world producer of #vin #bio by producing around 14 million more bottles than Spain and approaching the leader in Italy.
© 2020 Organic Vintage Study

- Millésime Bio (@MillesimeBio) January 14, 2020

"In dry, hot and windy climates", growing organic wine is easier

France runs after them, with 361 million bottles produced and 65,300 hectares of vines in 2018. But why are the Italians and the Spaniards so successful?

“It was especially the vineyards of southern Italy and Castilla la Mancha in Spain that were forerunners, because these vineyards lacked awareness vis-à-vis, in Italy, vineyards further north such as Piedmont and Veneto, or La Rioja for Spain, explains Florence Barthès, the director general of the Pays d'Oc IGP wine industry. The need for economic competitiveness of the holdings in order to develop their production has strongly influenced the vineyards, which have had to come out of mass production which was no longer in line with market demand. Obviously in dry, hot and windy climates, it is easier and profitable to produce organic wines than in humid and cold climates. "

"If you had money to finance products, you did it"

For Régine Le Coz, oenologist and wine consultant, if the Italians and the Spanish are successful in terms of organic wine, it is also a question of history. "In the 1960s, if you had the money to finance phytosanitary products, and to do treatment, you did," confides this wine specialist, creator of several international competitions. This is what has been done with flying colors in France. Less in Spain and Italy. The conversion of vineyards is therefore simpler in these countries, it is necessarily easier for a winemaker who has used less products in his vines. "

Italy has another advantage over these little European friends: the vineyards of the Peninsula have "a better yield per hectare," says Nicolas Richarme, president of the inter-professional association Sud Vin Bio, which organizes the Millésime Bio fair.

"The objective is to remain competitive"

All is not lost for the French, however. "France is gradually reaching Italy," says Sabine Nadal, cellar specialist in organic and natural wines at Placard à pinard, in Vic-la-Gardiole, in Hérault. And one of the leading regions in the field is Languedoc-Roussillon. More and more winegrowers are converting, or starting with sustainable farming, and little by little are coming to organic farming. Occitania today represents 37% of French organic wine-growing areas (and 7% of the world territory), making it the leading region producing organic wine in France.

The Hexagon even surpassed by a few twenty million bottles, before 2018, its Spanish neighbor, in terms of organic production. And by 2023, it will have doubled Italy in terms of areas, according to forecasts. But racing for first place is not an objective, for Nicolas Richarme. “We don't offer the same thing, we do different things. The objective [for France] is to remain competitive, stay in the lead, continue to make quality organic wines and provide food security to consumers, "said the president of Sud Vin Bio. The professionals will meet on Monday at the Parc Expo in Montpellier, to taste it.


Organic wine: France will soon overtake Germany and become the world's leading consumer


Headache, dosage… The real fake on sulfites in wine

  • Montpellier
  • Spain
  • Wine
  • Agriculture
  • Languedoc-Roussillon
  • Economy
  • Italy
  • Viticulture

Source: 20minf

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