Consumers generally flock to “organic” and “eco-friendly” products, but when it comes to wines, “eco-friendly” and “organic” wines fare worse than wines that do not put these types of green labels on the bottle.
A study published in the journal Business and Society found that wines priced over $25 with an eco-friendly label commanded lower prices than similarly rated wines without “green” labels. Check out this US News & World Report story by Meg Sullivan for complete details about the study.
Why would this be?
Consumers are still wary about “organic” wines because for a long time, wines that were labeled as “green,” “eco-friendly” or “organic” were thought to be produced by hippies who didn’t focus on quality. The majority of consumers who are purchasing wines over $25 are still more conservative folks who are primarily interested in one thing when purchasing a bottle that is expensive: quality. They may be wary of a product that is “eco-friendly” because they may think that quality may have fallen by the wayside.
Excellent producers who have always been organic, such as Sanford Wines, keep their organic practices mum. I applaud them for helping out the environment without greenwashing, but I do wish that more consumers would reward environmentally friendly wineries.
One interesting place where this is also the case is in bottle selection. In general, more expensive bottles of wine tend to have thicker glass and be heavier, giving the consumer the impression that they are worth more. But heavier bottles also require more fuel to ship, and are therefore less eco-friendly.