Scandinavia favours environmentally friendly wines
Austrian wine’s green image
Environmental consciousness is the order of the day – and few other wineproducing nations are so well placed in this regard as Austria. Some fourteen per cent of land under vines is already cultivated organically or biodynamically; nine per cent meet the requirements for the ‘Sustainable Austria’ certification. Some winegrowers even have both certifications.
Austrian sustainability certificate among the world’s best
Last summer, a delegation from the three Scandinavian monopoly markets Norway, Sweden and Finland carried out a detailed review of the numerous international wine sustainability certifications, which included ‘Sustainable Austria’, the certification created by the Austrian Winegrowers’ Association in 2015. The results: out of around 300 international certifications examined, ‘Sustainable Austria’ was only one of fourteen to fulfil the strict requirements of the state monopolies. Experts were particularly impressed with the stringent ecological analysis and the attention paid to social and economic criteria.
Clear competitive advantage in northern Europe
The Scandinavian market is particularly attractive for marketing wines that meet strict environmental standards. Northern European consumers are regarded as environmentally conscious, and the state-controlled monopolies in Norway, Sweden and Finland have focused on imports of organic and sustainably produced wines.
Norway’s ‘Vinmonopolet’ has already written its own tender – a separate import allocation – for organic Austrian wines. Based on this positive experience, they have now created an additional tender for Austrian wines with the ‘Sustainable Austria’ certification.
And elsewhere in Scandinavia? With Austria’s tenders to the Finnish state monopoly ‘Alko’, all wines that meet the standards of Alko’s own ‘Green Choice’ label have an advantage – organic certification as well as ‘Sustainable Austria’ are recognised. Sweden’s ‘Systembolaget’ is writing three tenders for Austrian wine in 2020, one of which is specifically for organic wines.
New AWMB head Chris Yorke is very pleased about this, commenting: ‘Austria is perceived internationally as an environmentally conscious nation. At more than 23%, our agriculture shows the highest proportion of organically cultivated land across Europe, and three quarters of domestic electricity production comes from renewable energy. Austria’s winegrowers – international leaders in organic viticulture – provide an essential contribution to this sensitive use of natural resources. I am pleased that our sustainability wine certification is judged among the world’s best by Scandinavian experts!’
Scandinavian wine monopolies
The sales of wine and other alcoholic beverages are stringently regulated by government monopolies in most northern European countries. These agencies invite ‘tenders’ – import quotas – for diverse product categories, such as Austrian wine. Interested winegrowers can apply for the individual tenders and attempt to place their wines in the particular market.
- 14.2 % of area under vines cultivated organically or biodynamically (source: ‘Grüner Bericht’ [Austrian Green Report] 2019)
- Comparison: 23.4% of total agricultural acreage organically cultivated, so among the leaders in Europe (source: Eurostat)
- Some 9% of area under vines cultivated according to the standards of the ‘Sustainable Austria’ certification (source: Austrian Winegrowers’ Association)
- Norway (Vinmonopolet):
- One tender for organic Austrian wines
- New: one tender for Austrian wines with ‘Sustainable Austria’ certification
- Finland (Alko):
- Four tenders for Austrian wines. A preference for wines with organic or ‘Sustainable Austria’ certification
- Sweden (Systembolaget):
- Three tenders for Austrian wines. One of these a specific tender for organic wines
Austrian Wine Marketing Board
Ms Sabine Bauer-Wolf
Division Manager Communication
Mr Georg Schullian
Head of Department Press, PR & Corporate Design