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Increasing interest for Argentine organic wines

July 4, 2012 by Maria Jose Merino | in Latest news, News

Environmental and health concerns are the main trends that encourage the growth in organic wine production and consumption. The European Union and the United States are the major export markets.

The organic wine market is on the up and it is becoming a popular trend among consumers. Environmental and health concerns drive consumers to choose more and more organic products.

Even though some large wineries have gone into the production of organic wine, it is mainly boutique wineries and small businesses that have found a niche market for this product.

According to a research produced by Senasa, in Argentina there are 55 wineries that hold organic certification and most of them are located in Mendoza.

Gustavo Caligiore, owner and winemaker of the homonymous winery, a company involved in the production and marketing of premium organic wines, said: “There are around 4,942 acres of certified vineyards which account for less than 1% of the total vineyard planted area.” However, he pointed out that “consumers are becoming more aware of the protection of the environment and natural resources, making themselves responsible through their purchasing power of encouraging sustainable practices for the production of goods and services in general. This is why; the growing of organic vineyards may increase in Argentina.”

Flying winemaker and partner in Altos Las Hormigas, Alberto Antonini, stressed that even though there exists a trend towards organic wine consumption, there should be a stronger commitment to protecting the lands. He mentioned to WineSur that he has been working on a more natural viticulture for years since “above all, I believe that organic growing can result in original wines that offer a true expression of the terroir.”

Europe and the United States concentrate organic shipments

A study carried out by the Senasa in 2011 showed that the European Union and the United States remain the main destinations.

In relation to this, Caligiore commented: “Approximately, the consumption of organic wines represents 1% and 2% of global consumption. It is still a market niche. Some countries boast greater development and maturity, especially those from the European bloc, with low annual growth rates of 2% to 3%. Up to 2011, United Sates as well as Canada registered a dynamic growth in the consumption of organic wines. In the US, some sources speak of a 15% annual average growth between 2006 and 2011, reaching an amount of almost USD 200 million in sales.

For his part, Pablo Dessel of Vinecol winery, underlined: “Consumption in Europe is at a standstill for this is a mature market and it is possible it has reached a plateau.” Regarding the company’s exports, the winemaker stressed that “given the crisis and stronger competition, sales in this continent have slightly stagnate. Nonetheless, we still have a strong presence in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany that are the major organic markets in Europe, and we believe that there are further opportunities in other countries like Poland and Czech Republic.”

On the other hand, Brazil is an attractive market for this sort of products. Consumption is growing fast, and many shops and supermarkets are including certified organic wines. Dessel explained that as the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 arrive in the country, hotels and restaurants will be obliged to have organic products. This is why; many Argentine wineries are targeting this niche market, taking advantage of the potential and proximity of Brazil.”

Translation: Rocio Acosta

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