Organic Viticulture In The Côtes du Rhône

cote-du-rhone

The Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages AOCs are among the largest organic wine-producing areas in France with 12% of the region’s wines grown organically. Côtes du Rhône red is also the top-selling organic AOC red wine in the large-scale retail sector in France with 18.3% (+1.5%) of market share. (Source IRI)

A serious, long-term commitment:

The number of organic certified wines grown in Côtes du Rhône’s vineyards has increased steadily over the past six years, making it one of the largest appellation areas in France to produce organic wine.

A pioneer in the organic movement, the Côtes du Rhône wine region has a long-standing commitment to sustainable practice and a strong awareness of the local initiatives designed to move towards greater environmental responsibility. These factors resulted in a conversion far quicker and more naturally than many other regions.

A further advantage is that the region’s vines enjoy very favourable conditions in terms of both agriculture and climate. The hot, dry conditions of the Côtes du Rhône are complemented by the Mistral, making the region perfect for organic wine production.

A growing number of producers:

In 2014, organic vineyards in the Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages region covered 5,346ha (+2%), with a production volume of 232,660hl (+43%) (source: Syndicat des Côtes du Rhône) representing around 12% of the global volumes.

Additionally, a total area of 182ha was under conversion, adding a potential 7,042hl to the harvest.

  • Number of CDR/CDR Villages organic certified producers – 2014 figures (Source: Syndicat des Côtes du Rhône): 217
  • Breakdown of CDR/CDR Villages organic certified producers – 2013 figures:
    • o 180 independent cellars (83%)
    • o 35 cooperative cellars (17%)
  • Around 50% of wine merchants in the UMVR (Union des Maisons de Vins du Rhône) now offer an organic range.

From a geographical point of view, Vaucluse is the undisputed leader both in Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages having 2,383ha, compared with 1,184ha in the Drome and 1,035ha in the Gard.

Meeting growing market demand:

Distributors are restructuring to meet the increasing demand for organic wine from both consumers (direct sales) and trade (large and medium-scale retail outlets).

Larger businesses, such as cooperative cellars and merchant houses currently produce organic wines in volumes large enough to respond to the more sizeable invitations to tender, particularly those issued by Northern European monopolies. (An example being a request to tender issued by the Norwegian government at the beginning of December).

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