Organic vineyards have almost tripled in the last seven years / trend towards biodynamics
The organic industry is booming. Almost a quarter of the under 30-year-olds in Germany regularly buy organic produce, as a study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture showed a few months ago. Within a year, the proportion of consumers conscious of organic produce has increased from 14 to 23 percent.
When it comes to wine, the organic triumphal march appears to be unending: Worldwide, the number of organic vineyards has almost tripled from 2004 to 2011 - from 88,000 to 256,000 hectares. With an average growth of 25 percent per year and more than 7,000 hectares, Germany is sixth in the world. The market share of organic wine is between four and five percent. The times, in which organic winegrowers were seen by some colleagues as eccentric oddballs, who were pressing rather undrinkable grapes for their ideology, seem light years ago. Today, many renowned companies on all continents work in accordance with the rules of organic agriculture. And more will follow. “From my point of view,” says Alois Lageder from South Tyrol, “organic agriculture should be par for the course for any quality winegrower.”
According to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Spain now wears the international organic crown thanks to enormous growth in some large cooperatives in Castile–La Mancha. About 80,000 hectares there are now organically farmed. In the next places come France (61,055 hectares), Italy (52,812), the USA (11,448), Turkey (8,871) and Germany. But Austria has the highest organic proportion in relation to its overall vineyard areas: 9.6 percent.
The fact that Spain has boomed recently in terms of organic cultivation is partly down to the climatic conditions and partly to the substantial, rich subsidies from Madrid’s Ministry of Agriculture. Added to this is definitely the fact that celebrity winegrowers, such as Alvaro Palacios (Priorato), Raúl Garcia (Bierzo), Sara Pérez (Priorato) and Miguel Torres (Penedés) have led from the front, acting as “driving forces”. Industry giant Torres has already converted more than 600 of its 1,800 hectares and wants to convert entirely to organic farming in the next couple of years.