Why French drinkers are turning to bio wines

Hermès heirs Renaud and Laurent Momméja are converting their wine-making operation in Bordeaux to bio

French wine drinkers are increasingly turning to bio (organic) wines after years of snubbing them as being good for the planet but bad to drink.

Interest is so high that France is the world’s biggest consumer of bio wine, with 195million bottles consumed.

That figure represents one in five of all bottles opened, according to a study by British marketing intelligence company IWSR, a world leader in the alcoholic drinks market.

The growth has been spectacular – in 2013, the total global market amounted to only 75million bottles.

Olivier Goué, organiser of the Millésime Bio trade fair to be held in Montpellier at the end of January, said: “The study confirms what we see on the ground, that the French public are increasingly turning to thesewines and that more and more vineyards and producers are turning bio.

“It is true that for some years, especially in the 1980s, bio wine got an unfortunate reputation in France but that has been turned around.

“Now competitions have shown that the wines win just as many medals as non-bio wines in blind tastings.”

Most bio wines in France are sold directly from the vineyard gate and account for 42% of the bottles sold.

Specialist organic shops and wine sellers account for 21% and 20% respectively, and supermarkets and hypermarkets 17%.

“Demand is strong from the supermarkets, but because most bio producers are small, they cannot produce the volumes which the supermarkets say they need before placing an order,” said Mr Goué.

“The big chains are obviously interested because all of the studies show that customers are willing to pay around 35% more for an ...

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