by Alessandra Cardone
VERONA, Italy, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Led by a growing interest in biologic agrifood products overall, Italian consumers were developing a strong taste for organic wine, a research unveiled at the Vinitaly wine fair here in Verona showed.
In the first two months of 2018, sales of organic wine reached 21.6 million euros (26.6 million U.S. dollars) in terms of value in the country's large retails chain only, according to the research.
The figure marked an 88 percent increase compared to the same period of 2017 (while non-organic wine sales overall grew by 3 percent in value).
Furthermore, data showed "a leap forward in the market share of organic wine, which today accounts for 1.2 percent against 0.7 percent last year."
The survey -- carried out by Nomisma Wine Monitor on data gathered by market research firm Nielsen -- involved 1,200 Italians aged between 18 and 65.
Some 41 percent of them said they drank organic wine at least once in the last two months, either at home or away from home.
Only five years ago, in 2013, the share of Italians drinking organic wines had been estimated at 2 percent. "The growing interest of Italians in well-being, environmental sustainability, and authenticity is one key driver behind such growth," Silvia Zucconi, the head of Nomisma Market Intelligence who supervised the survey, told Xinhua.
This trend was confirmed by another report released by Coldiretti farmers' federation on the eve of Vinitaly, which showed a 45 percent rise in organic wine sales (3.84 million litres) overall in 2017 against the previous year.
According to analysts, such boom was being nurtured by both sides of the market -- demand and supply. Many Italian wine makers were in fact paying a growing attention to organic wines in latest years, working hard to boost production and improve quality.
"This is the second crucial factor: the dynamic in the supply has proved able to support the demand increase, and to favor the sale increase of organic wine," Zucconi said.
She explained that making biological wine would require high technical skills "in the vineyard and in the cellar" and wine makers were focusing on both these phases of their work.
"These efforts have allowed them to improve the organoleptic qualities of the products," she stressed.
As a result, an increasing number of high-quality organic wines were being injected into the market, which would boost the chance for consumers to find their favorite label or grape on the shelves. Finally, data showed the central Abruzzo region was Italy's top performer in terms of organic wine sales, with almost 4 million euros in the first two months of 2018 (a 38 percent rise compared to the same months of 2017).
It was followed by northeast Veneto, central Tuscany, and southern Sicily, each of them registering sales worth over 3 million euros.
Purposefully, the Nomisma Wine Monitor survey was unveiled here at the Vinitaly, by large the top event for the wine industry in the country, and among the most important at global level. Running this year on April 15-18, the major fair has three specific "bio areas" devoted to organic wine producers and exhibitors.
Besides commercial exchanges, these areas offer targeted meetings and tasting sessions to help boost the organic wine culture among professionals and the large public.
Overall, this 52 edition of Vinitaly involves 4,380 exhibitors from 36 countries, and business delegations from 140 areas in the world. In 2017, it registered about 128,000 visitors -- of which 48,000 foreigners -- and 30,200 buyers. (1 euro = 1.23 U.S. dollars)