The 19th annual Millesime Bio took place in the South of France at the end of last month! We have several posts from our new friend Mr. Howard Hewitt who did a wonderful job of reporting what took place. What is the Millesime Bio? The Millesime Bio is the world’s largest gathering of organic wineries and organic wine trade press, it is a yearly competition in which organic winemakers from across the world compete for awards and medals and members of the wine industry present seminars and speeches.
The fair takes place every year in January in the heart of the South of France, a wine region of France where wine production is currently booming and market interest is ever growing. It offers a huge range of wines made from organically grown grapes from more than 580 wineries from Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Germany, Italiy, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, USA… all the well-known names in the organic wine world are at Millésime Bio! This year over 800 wines (600 exhibitors) will be showcased from 10 different countries across the world.
In 1993, the first official congregation of the Millesime Bio took place. It was and continues to be organized and planned by the Languedoc-Roussillon Inter-professional Association of Organic Wines, (more commonly recognized and known as AIVB-LR). Their original goal was to promote their products – wines made from organically grown grapes – and to feature new vintages for their buyers. The event has grown exponentially, but the friendly and democratic spirit remains.
This yearly convention is not only a competition that pits organically grown wines against one another to see which wine takes home the much coveted gold medal but is an excellent networking platform for businesses in the wine industry. In the last twelve years, the annual visitor count has multiplied tenfold. The end count for the visitors and exhibitors at the 1998 Millesime Bio was approximately equal, a mere 125. This year the 2012 Millesime Bio has 560 registered exhibitors and over 1,300 expected visitors, a clear rise since 1998 and up over 15% just since 2010.
Specifically, the Millesime Bio brings an annual, unique venue for international exhibition of organically grown wines. It offers some of the most up-to-date political, legal and business-oriented seminars discussing organic wine laws and trade, a strict professional atmosphere by reservation, an inexpensive method for networking and learning inside the organic wine industry, conferences on the organic wine market as well as its analysis, prominent keynote speakers from the front lines of the organic mission and a friendly atmosphere where this can all take place.
The attendee composition at the 2012 Millesime Bio this year will be (in descending order of composition): Wine retailers, Wine Importers, Wine Merchants, Wine HORECA*, Wine Exporters, Wine Wholesalers, Internet (online stores, affiliates, journalists, bloggers, press and wine trade, etc. online), Wine Brokers, General Retailers, Organic Retailers, Supermarket and Grocery. Of these constituents, Wine Retailers and Wine Importers represent over 50% of all of these categories while Organic Retailers and Supermarkets and Grocery comprise less than 5%.
*HORECA is an industry term for establishments in the food service sector that prepare and serve a product, in this case: wine. The term “HORECA” comes from the abbreviation by first syllable of the words “Hotel, Restaurants (and) Cafes”.