Millennials boost organic wine sales

Sales of organic wine are booming, boosted by a thousand-year-old market concerned about its health and the environment.

Australian organic wine – that is, wine made from grapes grown without the use of synthetic or artificial chemicals – is valued at $31 million as a retail category and is growing 54% from year.

Globally, organic wine consumption nearly doubled from 349 million bottles in 2012 to 676 million bottles in 2017, according to an industry news source. daily drink. By 2022, it is predicted that 1 billion bottles will be consumed each year.

Cheers: Alistair Oliveria, Taylor Ferney, Olivia Travini and Rose Ashton enjoy <a class=organic wine at The Unicorn hotel in Sydney.” title=”” data-src=”×349.h1d798.png/1554468478343.jpg”/>

Cheers: Alistair Oliveria, Taylor Ferney, Olivia Travini and Rose Ashton enjoy organic wine at The Unicorn hotel in Sydney. Photo: Wolter Peeter

Although organic wine represents only 0.42% of the volume of the Australian wine market, its growth has been rapid.

Woolworths-owned liquor retailer BWS, which has more than 1,300 stores nationwide, said its organic wine sales had doubled in the past 12 months, outpacing the growth of popular wine types such as rosé and prosecco.

“Customers are more aware of what they are putting into their bodies,” said James Maltman, commercial director of wine at BWS. “Although all age groups are buying more organic wine, sales are particularly strong among younger customers.

Esther Meek and Katie Shiff enjoy a drink at Marion Wine Bar in Melbourne. Photo: Simon Schluter

“Many of our core brands have incorporated organic wines into their lineup, and BWS expects to double organic wine sales again over the next 12 months as more wineries convert to grapes. biological.

“I think organic wine will be the norm in the next 10 years.”

Louisa Rose, winemaking manager at Yalumba in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, agrees that the organic wine boom will continue to be significant, but thinks it will take more than 10 years to see it grow. become more prevalent than wine made with non-organic grapes. .

“Making organic wine is not that different from making wine with non-organic grapes,” Ms. Rose said. “The part that takes time is the regular audits to become certified organic.

“We can make more organic wine any day of the vintage, but only with grapes from certified organic vineyards. This certification process takes at least three years and limits the growth of organic wine.

Yalumba was one of the first major Australian wineries to bring organic wine to market, launching an organic Shiraz and Viognier in 2006. The family-run winery now produces organic Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and a Sauvignon Blanc to be released soon. However, certified organic wine still represents only 1.5% of total Yalumba wines sold through traditional channels.

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt Golding

Ms Rose said she would like people to consider more than just organic certification when making and buying wine, also considering sustainable winemaking practices.

“For me, sustainability is about encouraging and increasing biodiversity to achieve a natural balance in your vineyard,” she said. “Watch water, soil treatments and chemical use and generally interfere less with nature.”

Liam O’Brien, sommelier at Melbourne’s Marion wine bar, said he’s noticed an increase in demand for certified organic wine, although he thinks it’s much slower than the increase in demand for food biological.

“People are certainly concerned about the sustainability of making a wine, but true organic certification seems to be less important,” he said.

Jake Smyth, co-owner of Sydney pubs The Unicorn and Lansdowne, said: “The principles of sustainability and zero chemical disruption at farm and cellar level must be central to all existing and emerging winemakers.

“Not only does this create purer wines, but it nurtures and protects our fragile environment, and delivers more delicious wine than one riddled with chemicals. [ones].”

Smyth said his venues foster a change of attitude among young drinkers, using the language of sustainability to raise awareness “of the reality of ‘conventional’ industrialized winemaking.”

“They [young people] engage on a deeper level and their support of these sustainable, chemical-free producers such as Jauma, Cobaw Ridge and Latta is amazing.”

Ben Luker, project manager at research and consultancy firm Wine Intelligence, says poor quality products when the organic industry was in its infancy is the reason young drinkers are more willing to demand organic wine .

“Many older drinkers indicate that they have experienced examples of poor quality organic wines over the years, which has given the whole category strong opinions,” Mr. Luker said. “Similar to someone who dislikes a particular chardonnay and then rules out drinking the varietal altogether.

“A few years ago, you were really compromising on quality to buy an organic wine,” Maltman said. “Now there’s more efficiency in organic wine production, there’s no compromise on quality whether you’re spending $15 for a bottle or $50.”

A field guide to wine terms in 2019

While many people are “happy to just tick the organic box for now,” according to James Maltman, many other fringe terms in viticulture are gaining attention through mainstream channels.

“There is a lack of customer understanding of what all the terms mean,” Louisa Rose said. “And with something like natural wine, there’s not really an official definition anyway.”


Wine made with grapes grown according to a set of holistic biodynamic principles and practices that consider the entire vineyard as one large living organism. Chemical pesticides are strictly prohibited.


Wine made from grapes grown without the use of synthetic or artificial chemicals and in accordance with the principles of organic farming. (And, yes, you can still get a hangover from organic wine.)

natural wine

Basically, wine fermented without commercial yeast or chemical additives, which natural wine advocates say can tarnish the true character of a grape. Often, but not always, made with grapes from sustainable, organic or biodynamic vineyards.

Sustainable wine

Wine made from a range of ecologically responsible and economically viable viticultural and winemaking practices. Sustainable Wine does not prohibit the use of man-made chemicals, but recommends their use in moderation.

vegan wine

For a wine to be labeled vegan, it must not come into contact with animal products during production, such as gelatin or egg white sometimes used in the fining process. Many wines are vegan but may not advertise it.

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