There’s been a lot of buzz online recently about an academic paper done by two students; Magali A. Delmas of UCLA and Laura E. Grant of UCSB titled Eco-labeling Strategies and Price-Premium: The Wine Industry Puzzle. The study looks at eco-certification and eco-labeling as two separate business strategies, and they found that wineries that are certified organic, but don’t let you know on their label, command higher prices. Wineries that certify, and put that information on the bottle, actually see a price decline. The lesson for wineries – go organic but don’t tell anyone about it.
We’ve dealt with this problem since we started the Organic Wine Journal. There are many fantastic certified organic and biodynamic wines out there, but you have to know the names yourself because you won’t find it anywhere on their labels. This leads to confusion not only among wine drinkers, but also with sommeliers, servers and the workers at your local wine store. Thankfully, the balance is shifting, and organic and biodynamic wines are being perceived as higher quality in general, but until the top winemakers come out of the cellar, so to speak, the findings of this study don’t surprise us.