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Following on the rapid spread of the green movement, organic wines and packaging have established a place on the market. A new terminology has emerged with expressions such as organic grapes, sustainable development, biodynamics and recyclable. Producers everywhere have become more ecologically aware, both in the Old World and the New.

While the ecological discourse remains somewhat muted among the world’s producers, various prediction studies indicate that the area dedicated to ecologically sound production practices will sextuple by 2012. What’s behind this trend? The development of organic agriculture is a response to consumers’ growing concern for the environment and desire for quality products. A strong future seems assured for the organic wine sector.

Many winegrowers have embraced the wave of innovation currently impacting the industry with concepts such as bag-in-box packaging, while continuing to foster wine’s image as an environmentally friendly product with a unique place in culture and society.

Eco-packaging and recycling

Eco-packaging is now prominent on some shelves, with bag-in-box gaining ground and gradually winning over consumers. Moreover, Tetra Pak is revolutionizing the image of wine and gaining popularity in markets such as the United States, Asia and even Europe.

Light, practical, unbreakable, UV-impermeable and, especially, recyclable, Tetra Pak has convinced many companies to convert to this exciting new packaging. Spain appears to be leading the charge, followed by Argentina, Chile and Australia.

This year also saw unexpected growth in the returnable bottle sector, while the importance of organic supermarkets was confirmed by their increasing numbers. Cellars and importers will undoubtedly step up their bottling activities significantly in coming years.

Organic wine on the rise

Professional meetings, seminars and thematic trade fairs organized around organic winegrowing and the production of organic wines were well attended in 2008 and 2009, a trend that is expected to continue in 2010. These events are stimulating the interest of consumers and opening doors to new markets.

Germany, Spain, Austria and, more recently, France and Italy have joined the green movement by developing organic products. The New World is also part of this trend. A market that has remained stable despite the economic crisis, combined with attractive pricing, has enabled organic producers to significantly increase their sales. This is particularly true of Germany, which prices its wines very competitively. Austrian organic winegrowers, whose exports grew substantially, were also more than satisfied with this year’s results.

Nearly all the organic wine produced in Spain is destined for export. After seeing sales increase in 2008, France has decided to expand its organic production. The situation is more complicated in Italy, however, where a large production ensures stable pricing and where the demand for organic wines is stronger in the North of the country than in the South. Finally, Japan, Germany, Benelux and Scandinavia are currently the largest buyer nations of organic wine.

From grapes to packaging, the offering of organic products will continue to grow and may very well become the next boom! Where do you see this trend heading in the future? We invite you to add to the discussion on GWS Community!

In the next Special Insider News – September 22, 2009…

Look for an article on the 2009 grape harvest: projections comparing producers in the Northern Hemisphere with leading and successful producers in the South, a look at the most popular varieties, predictions on who will be the year’s largest producer, and a range of information about consumer behaviour and market trends.

The Global Wine & Spirits team