Global increase in organic vineyard areas
A new report from the OIV shows that more than three quarters of the world’s organic vineyard area is in Europe: but 63 countries in the world now have at least 1,000 ha of vineyards under organic management.
A total of 6.2% of the world’s vineyards were organic in 2019, according to the report.
8% growth per year
The conversion rate of vineyards to organic production has increased considerably since the beginning of the 21st century.
Between 2005 and 2019, the area of certified organic vineyards increased by an average of 13% per year, while the area of non-organic vineyards decreased by an average of 0.4% per year.
One of the factors explaining this intense rate of growth is the fact that certified organic viticulture is still a recent phenomenon.
However, growth has experienced ups and downs: organic areas grew exponentially between 2005 and 2011 (+18% per year on average), to slow down between 2011 and 2014 at an average annual rate of +4%. From 2014, the growth rate increased again to reach an average of +8% per year.
Spain: the largest organic wine producer in the world
In 2019, a total of 63 countries on all continents were involved in organic viticulture and the area of certified organic vineyard was estimated at 454 kha, or 6.2% of the world area under vines.
The organic vineyard is however very concentrated in certain areas: 10 countries concentrate 91% of the world total.
The top three markets – Spain, France and Italy – account for 75% of organic vineyards in total global distribution and place Europe at the forefront of the organic wine movement. While these countries are already the largest wine producers in the world anyway, another reason why they emphasize organic vineyards is that some EU policies have encouraged the development of organic areas, in particular vineyards.
Spain is the world’s leading organic producer by area, accounting for 27% of the world’s organic vineyard area, with Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia and Valencia representing the main regions.
France comes just behind: it represents 25% of the world’s organic vineyard area. The sector is driven by domestic demand (on average, only 40% of organic wines are exported), with organic vineyards centered around the Mediterranean basin.
Italy, meanwhile, accounts for 24% of the global total, with Sicily, Puglia and Tuscany being the main regions. Unlike France, the Italian organic market is mainly export-oriented, with around 85% of organic wines exported per year.
These three main markets are followed by the United States (4%), Turkey (3%), China (3%), Germany (2%), Austria (1%), Greece (1 %) and Argentina (1%).
Organic vineyards in the United States represent 3.6% of the world total.
“In the United States – the world’s largest market for organic agricultural products – these products are increasingly part of consumer habits”,note the report. “Organic acreage growth has been slower than in other countries with similar organic vineyard acreage. Certified organic acreage still fluctuates considerably, with vineyards entering and exiting the organic system.”
European countries dominate organic vineyards not only in terms of total area, but as a percentage of the country’s total vineyard area.
Italy devotes 15% of its vineyard to organic viticulture, followed by France (14%) then Austria (14%) and Spain (13%). The only non-European country to feature in the top 10 is Mexico, with 8% of its vineyard certified organic.
However, the OIV notes the challenges of organic vineyards and trends may fluctuate accordingly.
“Behind this growth of organic vineyards in the world, there is nevertheless an important movement both upwards and downwards, because the conversion of a vineyard to organic farming is often complex and requires a good deal of adaptation. Climatic phenomena or structural and/or organizational problems can lead producers to abandon their organic production certification, leading to a local decrease in organic vineyard areas. In addition, the generally lower yields of organic viticulture can also be a reason for withdrawal of a label or certification. These factors, which have an impact on surface area, vary greatly from one country to another depending on the climatic conditions of the vintage.
The full report is available here.