As part of the Vinexpo Asia 2024 event, the World of Organic Wine (WOW) stand has garnered a lot of interest as consumer trends move towards healthier products.

The WOW stand is a new inclusion at Vinexpo Asia, showcasing producers from around the world that make certified organic products, which are becoming increasingly popular in Asia.

Pluto Spirits, the only Australian company to take part in the WOW stand, has been showcasing their organic vodka, gin, rum and spiced rum. Head distiller Jack Nisbet told TheShout that organic spirits were picking up steam as they reflect a growing consumer focus.

“What we’ve noticed is there a big gap in the market for organic spirits, and we also see a drive towards quality and premium products in the spirits space. We tend to see that people are moving away from a large amount of something low-quality and moving to a smaller amount of something of very high quality. In saying that, you’ve got to keep your price competitive. We’d really love to see more of a move to making spirits from scratch, from beginning to end without any pre-made spirits being part of the piece.”

Pluto Spirits managing director Graham Holmberg said a drive towards organic products is being fuelled by ethical and health priorities.

“I think it does seed into the ESG aspect. People are into sustainability and renewability, and we know that organic agriculture is more renewable, it’s more sustainable. There is a health aspect too. When you’re making gin you might be drinking glyphosate or anything else that’s been in contact with the plants. We think the health and ESG movements will help organics moving forward.”

Pluto Spirits’ managing director Graham Holmberg (left) and head distiller Jack Nisbet.

This drive towards organic products is playing out the most significantly in Europe, with the majority of the exhibitors on the WOW stand coming from France and Italy. One such exhibitor is La Jara, an organic winery in Treviso province in northern Italy, that specialises in Prosecco.

La Jara’s export director, Francesco Galardi, said that France was one of the countries driving the organic movement.

“I think there are countries that are very much focused on the topic of organic wines, like Germany and France. Especially in France it’s very surprising because we’re Italian producers and we’re very happy to work with France, one of the most important wine-producing countries in the world. We’re seeing the business grow more and more every year.”

Galardi did note however that producing organic wine is a much trickier business, as you’re more beholden to the weather.

“It’s very difficult to make organic wines in the north of Italy, especially this year it’s been raining every single day, non-stop. Every time it rains you have to commence treatment all over again, so it’s a lot of work. It also means you have to work whenever there’s a break in the weather, even if it’s a Saturday or Sunday. If today it’s raining, and you know tomorrow is going to be sunny, then tomorrow you work. Even half a day late and you don’t get the result that you want with the harvest.”

Outside of Europe, Galardi credits the United States and Australia as the markets leading demand for organic wines.

“We’ve been doing very good business in Australia for many, many years. From my perspective Australia is one of those markets that is trying to go in that direction.”

Most importantly, it’s clear from the interest at the WOW stand, that organic products are not being sought out by specialised buyers, but by traditional wholesalers and retailers looking to offer organic products as part of their overall offering.

“I think what’s really good is that we don’t see specialised importers, because it would be difficult to find specialised customers that are exclusively after organic, but we see the trend of traditional importers having more interest in having an organic section of their portfolio, explained Maxime Dubois, export manager – Asia for Genuine Wines.

“I think now we’ve reached the point where it’s a prerequisite, it’s not something that’s novel. The base question is ‘Are you organic? Yes ok, we can work together’. So it’s quite interesting here.”

Maxime Dubois of Genuine Wines, which represents 10 French and three Italian organic wineries in Asia.

Nisbet from Pluto Spirits agrees, after having such a positive response to their products from expo visitors.

“ We’ve had a really favourable response! Everyone that’s tasted our products so far have really enjoyed them, and the organic side seems to pique interest. I think there are people here who wouldn’t have looked at us twice as an Australian spirit, but as an organic spirit are very excited by the product.”

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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