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The Organic and Biodyanmic Italian Wine Industries – A Snapshot of the Future

We’ve written several posts in the past on the rise of organic and biodynamic Italian wines. These wines, which are made using techniques that require no unnatural manmade chemicals, promote themselves as the wines of the future.

…And they may just be right.

While the organic and biodynamic market share is relatively small at the moment, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that both industries will experience growth in the coming years. And that growth may accelerate thanks to a simple piece of language in a European Commission regulation.

What Does the Language Say?

As you may already know, any wine that wishes to obtain organic or biodynamic status must undergo a number of tests. Obviously, the certifying bodies will examine the production methods used and whether there are any unnatural chemicals in the wine.

But it is in Regulation of the European Commission (EC) 203/2012 that we see a piece of language that may affect winemaking in the coming years.

According to this regulation, the grapes used in organic wines should be grown “in a manner that protects the environment and preserves the soil.”

Right now, that rule only applies to organic and biodynamic wines. However, the presence of this language also raises a question that you may not have considered before…

Why doesn’t this rule apply to all winemakers?

It’s a very good question. For as much as wine producers talk about their love of their land, the use of non-organic winemaking techniques could cause damage to their very livelihood. It’s possible that the chemicals that many producers use today could damage their land for future generations.

And that makes us wonder…

Will the EC eventually decide to extend this piece of language beyond the single set of regulations that it currently resides in? And if they do, what effect will that have on the overall wine industry.

Perhaps we’ll eventually see more producers turning towards organic and biodynamic methods. If the EC chooses to further define what constitutes protecting the environment and soil, we may find that some producers end up having to change their production methods to meet that definition.

What Does the Organic Wine Industry Look Like Right Now?

You’re probably noticed an influx of organic and biodynamic wines entering the market in recent years. And that sharp influx may have given you the impression that such wines are extremely popular in the current market.

There’s some truth to this. We’ve definitely seen growth for both types of wine in recent years and it appears that we will see more growth in the future.

However, organic and biodynamic wines most definitely make up the minority in the current industry. 

We can see this in the IWSR’s Organic Wine Report.

It tells us that the global wine industry will sell 2.43 billion cases of wine in 2022. Of that number, only 87.5 million cases will be organic wines. This is approximately 3% of the total cases sold, which tempers the idea that organic wines are taking over the entire industry. They are still very much a small part of the market…

But they’re also growing.

The same report shows us that organic wines will achieve a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9.72% between the years 2017 and 2022. So while this will only amount to 3% of the total industry, it is still a remarkable rate of growth for a type of wine that was almost unheard of a mere decade ago.

The Factors That Will Influence The Growth or Organic and Biodynamic Wines

So, we’re seeing that organic and biodynamic wines will experience some growth over the next two years.

But what about in the years that follow? What factors might lead to a further spike in the growth of these types of wine.

As mentioned, the EC will play a big role. With a continued drive towards sustainability leading to even more concern over the effect that various industries have on the environment, it’s possible that they will extend this idea of protecting the land and environment when growing grapes.

Should they choose to ban manmade chemicals as part of this concept, we could see many European producers making a “forced” shift towards organic wine production. And if the European market does it, it’s very likely that the global market will follow. After all, the weight of the major European industries will turn the organic concept into a marketing tool.

But let’s assume that there’s no wider enforcement of this rule.

In that case, the major influencer for the growth of the organic wine industry will be the various markets around the world.

Right now, we’re seeing the majority of the growth in European markets. They seem much more likely to adopt the concept of organic wines than any other at the moment. That’s certainly the case when compared to other established markets, like the United States, where organic wines aren’t growing quite as quickly.

However, we also have emerging markets, like China, to consider. Currently, these markets aren’t as concerned about the types of wine they’re getting as they are the perceived quality. As such, the organic market, while making slight inroads in China, most definitely isn’t a priority.

However, there is always the potential for that to change. As consumer tastes evolve, so too will the markets. And with the general conceit being that the younger generations are more concerned with the quality of foods and drinks that enter their bodies, we may see organic and biodynamic wines really make their climb in a decade or two’s time.

The Final Word

There’s no denying that there’s a lot of room for growth in the organic and biodynamic wine industries. And we’re certainly seeing a lot of Italian wine producers exploring these types of options.

However, we don’t feel like such wines are going to be the driving force in the market just yet. But in time, they may certainly get to that point. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how the market (and consumer tastes) evolve in the coming years.

HIGHLIGHT

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