On 29, 30 and 31 January 2024, Montpellier will be hosting the world’s largest trade fair for organic wines, beers, spirits and ciders: Millésime BIO, organised by SudVinBio. 1,500 exhibitors and 11,000 trade buyers from all over the world are expected at this 2024 edition, packed with novelties.
“Created in 1993 by SudVinBio, the interprofessional association of organic winegrowers in Occitanie, the Millésime BIO trade fair is now the largest international marketplace dedicated to the organic wine market. It was designed by and for producers”, says Jeanne Fabre, winemaker and president of the Millésime BIO committee responsible for the organisation of the event. In figures, that’s 1,500 exhibitors from twenty countries and 11,000 professional buyers: wine merchants, sommeliers, restaurateurs, importers, buyers from supermarkets and specialist channels. 20% of these buyers come from abroad, from the main consumer countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Since 2019, the show is also open to organically produced beers, spirits and ciders.
Not just 100% business
While Millésime BIO’s primary mission is to promote business and sales, it is also a meeting place for exchanges and discoveries. “Despite its size, the show remains on a human scale and is designed to create relationships,” sums up Jeanne Favre. Unlike many trade fairs, the exhibitors are not ‘organised’ by country. “Everyone is ‘mixed’ and all the exhibitors have the same wooden counter. This encourages buyers to visit the show, to go and meet producers they don’t know, to be curious”, explains the president. In the wine library, over 1,000 wines and other organic alcoholic beverages are available for tasting. The conference area offers around thirty conferences and masterclasses, in French and English, covering major topics of current professional interest. Prior to the show, a digital session will be held on 22 and 23 January 2024 to foster initial contacts and prepare or refine visit schedules.
A programme full of new features
A number of other events are also on the programme for these three exciting days. Among the new features, there will be an area in the Wine Library where enthusiasts can taste a selection of Demeter and Biodyvin-certified wines, to mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Agriculture Course, the founding manifesto of biodynamic agriculture by Austrian Rudolf Steiner. “For the first time, the Wine Library will also be hosting a corner showcasing bulk wine samples,” explains Jeanne Fabre. The “Bar Challenge” will be showcasing the products of the medallists in the Challenge Millésime BIO 2024, the world competition for organic wines and beers scheduled for 17 and 18 January (2,000 wines and 150 beers competing).
A growing organic wine market
Everything is in place to make the 2024 edition a superb success, especially as the market indicators are all in the green. While the organic market has been weakened by a number of factors (the fall in purchasing power being one of them), the organic wine market has seen its growth slow down, but remain positive. “The proportion of direct sales by producers represents over 40% of overall sales, which means that the organic wine market is protected from the ups and downs of the market. It has shown enormous resilience, thanks to the closeness it maintains with its customers and their loyalty”, explains the chairwoman of the Millésime BIO committee. In France, organic vineyard conversions remain dynamic, having doubled over the last five years (2016-2021). The increase in volumes is helping to meet demand in fast-growing markets such as northern Europe and North America.
The whole town celebrates
Buyers from Sweden, Finland and Canada will be well represented in Montpellier, as will the Germans, Americans and Japanese. Not only at Millésime BIO, but also in the city’s restaurants, wine bars and wine shops, since SudVinBio, in partnership with the City of Montpellier, the Hérault Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tourist Office, is organising a major organic wine festival throughout the Hérault capital, from 27 January to 3 February 2024.
More information: www.millesime-bio.com