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The latest insights for organic wine

Market Bulletin | Issue 295
05 Sep 2023
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This week our Market Bulletin takes a look at the small but growing category of organic wine to mark Organic Awareness Month

In Australia, for a wine to call itself organic it must have an official certification from an independent third-party, like ACO Certification Limited (ACOCL) or NASAA Certification Limited (NCO). 

For those exporting wine, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry administers the export program for the export of organic and biodynamic goods in Australia. The primary objective of the program is to ensure that organic and biodynamic produce exported from Australia meets the requirements of importing countries, ensuring that international market access is maintained. The Department provides export certification and declarations in line with Australia's export regulatory framework and importing country requirements. Wine Australia offers an Export Market Guide for Organic Wine that provides overviews of the organic wine requirements for a number of Australia’s key export markets.

Global vineyard area and sales on the rise

According to the World of Organic Agriculture 2023, the share of the world’s vineyard area that is organic has grown from 1.39 per cent in 2005 to 7.85 per cent in 2021. Australia is ranked 11th in organic vineyard area with a 1.08 per cent share.

IWSR reports that global sales of organic wine have grown from 29 million cases in 2012 to 71 million cases in 2022. The organic share of global wine sales has grown over the same period from 1.2 per cent to 3.3 per cent. Sales of non-organic wine over this period fell from 2.4 billion cases to 2.06 billion cases. 

Figure 1 shows that Germany is the biggest market for organic wine sales, with France, the United Kingdom (UK), United States (USA) and Sweden rounding out the top five. Australia is ranked number 10.

Figure 1: Organic Wine Sales by Market in 2022

Source: IWSR

Australia’s organic wine exports

According to Australian Organic Limited’s Australian Organic Market Report 2021, there are just over 150 wineries who are certified organic. This is about 10 per cent of all wineries in Australia.  

In 2022–23, Australian organic wine exports totalled 180,000 cases valued at $10 million FOB. This equates to 0.3 per cent of the total volume and 0.5 per cent of the total value of Australian wine exports during the year. Out of the 1,220 companies that exported wine during the latest year, only 45 exported organic wine.

The value of Australian organic wine exports is more than three times what it was a decade ago, although Figure 2 shows that exports have declined in recent years. 

Figure 2: Australian organic wine exports over time

Source: Wine Australia

Of the 117 destinations that Australian wine is shipped to, only 38 receive organic wine. Four of those account for almost two-thirds of the value – Sweden, the UK, the US, and Canada (see Figure 3). Exports have been growing to New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan (off a small base) but are in decline for most other key destinations. 

Figure 3: Top 10 destinations for Australian organic wine exports

Source: Wine Australia

Rising domestic sales

According to IWSR, organic wine sales in the Australian domestic market have been steadily rising since 2012, albeit off a very low base, from 100,000 cases in 2012 to 1.5 million cases in 2022. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 31 per cent per annum over the decade. 

Figure 4: Organic wine sales in Australia

Source: IWSR

Future growth opportunities 

Recently, sustainability concerns have generally become stronger, which has translated into a growing consumer interest in alternative wines, including organic wine. Sustainability is important for at least two in every three consumers across the world’s biggest wine markets, such as the UK, US, Canada and Australia. 

However, the increased cost of living represents a major threat for alternative wines, which are generally perceived as more expensive without necessarily being associated with higher quality and better taste, especially organic wines, according to research by Wine Intelligence and published in the SOLA 2023: Opportunities in Sustainable, Organic and Alternative Wine.

Despite the short-term challenges, the report suggests that there is a good growth opportunity for organic wine in the future. 

Wine Intelligence identifies that Germany and Sweden in Europe and South Korea and Japan in Asia offer the best opportunities for growth in organic wine sales. 

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.