While U.S. wine grape growers wax poetic about being "stewards of the land" through "sustainability" measures while using Roundup and toxic fungicides, Europe's organic vineyard owners are quietly zooming ahead in organic vineyard and wine production.
Statistics released at VinItalyBio in April by Nomisma Wine Monitor show that EU growers have 84 percent of the world's organic vineyards.
While the global average for organic vineyards is 4.5 percent of all vineyards, in Europe that number is 7.8 percent.
Three countries are responsible for 70 percent of the EU's organic vines - Spain with 26.7 percent of the organic vines in the EU, followed by Italy with 22.9 percent and France with 21 percent.
Austria has the highest percentage of organic growers with 10.7 percent. Italy is in second place with 10.3% organic vineyards.
Spain follows with 8.9 percent, while France has 8.7 percent and Germany has 7.6 percent. Bulgaria has 5.8 percent organic vines, and Greece has 4.3 percent.
By area, in Europe Spain has the largest acreage devoted to organic viticulture, with 208,510 acres. Spanish organic vineyard acreage grew 413% from 2003 to 2014.
Italy surpassed France in organic vineyards, with 178,808 acres, growing 128% in the same 11 year period.
In the same timespan, France grew 307% and now has 163,611 acres of organic vines.
By comparison, the U.S.'s largest organic certifier, CCOF, reported decreases in organic vineyards in the U.S. from 11,906 acres in 2011 to 11,237 acres in 2013. According to FiBL, the U.S. has 15,647 acres of organic vines in 2014. That's 4 percent of U.S. vines according to FiBL.
According to my calculations, if there were 15,647 acres and the total in the U.S. was 565,000 (see USDA stats here), that would be 2.6 percent of total U.S. vineyards.