Grape Britain: UK merry on organic wine as sales soar

The world is embracing organic and biodynamic wine, so why not here? Napa and Sonoma acreage still single digits. “Organic wine is a growing trend globally and we have seen sales increase by 16% in the last year”. 

Grape Britain: UK merry on organic wine as sales soar

Rise in number of environmentally conscious consumers lead to boom in sales of organic wines, beers and spirits

It is made from grapes grown without pesticides and chemicals, is kind to the environment and rarely triggers hangovers. Sales of organic wine are booming in the UK as part of the growing trend for “conscious consumerism”.

According to the organic food and farming group the Soil Association, sales of organic beers, wines and spirits rose by 14.3% last year to reach nearly £6m, driven by strong demand for wines where consumers are increasingly seeking “natural” ingredients and reassurances about provenance. Still a relatively small share (2.2%) of the overall UK organic market, sales are now growing at double the rate of the market as a whole.

“Organic wines are seeing something of a renaissance” said Finn Cottle of Soil Association Certification. “While the whole organic market is in general outperforming non-organic food and drink sales, organic still wine – red, white and rosé – is a runaway success story. English organic wine makers are seeing booming sales too – perhaps as people rediscover that link with their environment that organic exemplifies. Organic wines also taste better, perhaps due to less intensive production using fewer synthetic chemicals.”

Supermarkets are increasing the stock on their shelves to meet consumer demand, while the switch to online shopping has helped boost the organic wine sector as people are more easily able to find what they are looking for. Vintage Roots is now one of the UK’s biggest online retailers of organic and biodynamic wine, while Ocado stocks more than 100 different organic wines and Daylesford, best-known for its organic vegetable boxes, has branched out into organic wine and spirits.

The discount supermarket Aldi is set to launch its first collection of so-called “green” wines this week, offering eight wines with organic, carbon neutral or ‘no added sulphur’ credentials.

Aldi expects the wines to appeal to the “Whole Foods generation”; millennial shoppers who are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the produce that they are buying and consuming.

Aldi’s four organic wines include a prosecco, two still whites and a red. They will also stock two certified carbon-neutral wines and two “no sulphur added” wines, and all bottles will be priced between £4.99 and £7.99.

Of the growing band of English organic wine producers, Oxney Estate’s English Pinot Noir Rosé recently clinched the Waitrose trophy for the most outstanding still rosé wine at the English and Welsh wine of the year competition. A spokeswoman for Waitrose said: “Organic wine is a growing trend globally and we have seen sales increase by 16% in the last year”.