Was the glass of organic and biodynamic wine in 2008 half full or half empty? From our seat at OWJ it seems a little murky; like an unfined, unfiltered red Rhone. Industry statistics point to an increase in sales of around 30% for the organic category against a backdrop of 3% for all wine. However, that starts from a very low base, estimated at still less that 1% of all wine produced.
Other signs point in two directions at once. At a fund raiser the other evening the head of one of New York’s famous wine stores told me he all his fall sales were for wines between $6.00 and $15.00 a bottle – down from the $25 and up. That can’t be good for organic and biodynamic wines, as they are mostly smaller higher cost artisinal producers. If the global fiscal meltdown drives everyone into the grape factory arms of Yellow Tails and Ravenswood that would be unfortunate.
Yet a new cool wine shop, Blue Angel, specializing in organic and biodynamic wine just opened in the hot place for young people, Williamsburg Brooklyn. Blue Angel is focused on artisinal wines under $15.00.
I also had a conversation with two high up sales reps for one of the largest wine importers, people who sell tens of millions of dollars of wine to restaurants and bars. They told me that “organic wine is definitely hot, everyone asks for it and it’s on the radar of our bars and restaurant clients.”
Wine shops too are more often highlighting their organic and biodynamic wines, via a defined section or a green marker. Some shops are regularly featuring these wines in their ads and promotional efforts, a very good omen for our world.
The media are also adding their weight towards the “tipping point”. There were scores of articles on organic wines last year. I saw stories in local newspapers and regional magazines and in the influential giants like Gourmet and Food and Wine. Even the mainstream media like Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast ran articles and features.
Lastly, here at the Organic Wine Journal we continue to experience a nice steady growth in readers, links and contributors. We are only beginning, however. We have big plans for 2009. A new re-designed site is coming soon to reach out to the organic and biodynamic wine community and help them promote and sell their wines better. We will try harder to save more earthworms, insects, birds and farm workers than ever.
As always we love to hear from you. We want more links, more advertisers, more articles and stories and more feedback from our wine community.
Here’s a toast to an organic and biodynamic 2009!