Motivation factors for organic wines. An analysis from the perspective of German producers and retailers

Katharina Hauck, Hochschule Geisenheim University

Gergely Szolnoki, Hochschule Geisenheim University

Evelyn Pabst, Hochschule Geisenheim University

In Germany, the agricultural area devoted to organic farming has almost doubled in the last 5 years, with around 10 % of German farmland now certified for organic farming. The USA and Europe are the largest organic markets around the world. In 2016, Germany was one of the most impor-tant organic markets worldwide.

Nonetheless, although it has since lost its leading position and now occupies the sixth largest organic market in Europe, it is still the world’s largest market for organic wine.Organic viticulture in Germany covers around 9 % of German vineyards, or 9,300 hectares in total. The supply of organic wine is similar to the organic food market, suggesting that the demand for organic wine is comparable to the demand for organic food.

However, several studies have indicated that the growing supply for organic wine is not a direct indicator of high demand for the product. Rather, according to findings by Remaud et al., Hoffmann and Szolnoki and Szolnoki and Hauck, the active demand for organic wine is small. In addition, wine producers face many local and global challenges, such as climate change and a saturated wine market. While the majority of organic wine (86 %) is produced in Europe, the number of German organic vineyards is comparatively small.

Moreover, traditional German food retailers and discounters with a high market share in the German wine market have increased their supply of organic food and wine.The present study examines the motives that inform producers’ decisions to convert to organic farming and the resulting changes in costs and sales structures and the motives of retailers to offer organic wine. The paper also analyses producers’ and retailers’ perceptions and promotion of organic wine to determine the driving factors behind the discrepancy between the supply and demand of organic wine.

Finally, the study assesses consumer knowledge and the demand for organic wine to draw practical implications for the organic wine industry in Germany.


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