Vol. 12 No. 1 (2023)
Original Research Article

A certification for natural wine? A comparative analysis of consumer drivers in Italy and Spain

Eva Parga-Dans
Instituto de Productos Naturales y Agrobiología (IPNA-CSIC), Avda. Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez, 3, 38206, La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Riccardo Vecchio
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II (Italy), Via Università, 100, 80055 Portici – Naples
Azzurra Annunziata
Department of Economic and Legal Studies, University of Naples “Parthenope”, Via Parisi, 13, 80133 Naples
Pablo Alonso González
Instituto de Productos Naturales y Agrobiología (IPNA-CSIC), Avda. Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez, 3, 38206, La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Raimundo Otero Enríquez
Departament of Sociology and Communication, University of A Coruña, Rúa da Maestranza 9, 15001 A Coruña

Published 2023-05-09


  • consumer preferences,
  • food certification,
  • eco-labels,
  • natural wine,
  • food labeling

How to Cite

Parga-Dans, E., Vecchio, R., Annunziata , A., Alonso González, P., & Otero Enríquez, R. (2023). A certification for natural wine? A comparative analysis of consumer drivers in Italy and Spain. Wine Economics and Policy, 12(1), 23–35. https://doi.org/10.36253/wep-12890

Funding data


The 2020 certification of natural wine (NW) in France has unleashed a heated debate in Europe. However, knowledge about NW consumer profiles and preferences in a comparative perspective remains scarce in the academic literature. This study aims to define the perceptions, preferences and profiles of wine consumers who support a NW label. For this purpose, we employed analysis of variance, aprioristic factor analysis and multiple regression analysis to examine data from a direct survey performed in Italy and Spain in 2020. Findings reveal that NW consumers in both countries deem it necessary to establish a certification for NW. However, we found significant differences regarding consumers’ profiles, as well as purchasing preferences. In Spain, demand for NW certification is linked to eco-healthy and proximity-craft attributes of wine, and is considered more important by non-professional consumers and those with lower educational level. In Italy, information on the label and the purchase experience are the most important factors to aid in recognizing NW, while women show a significant interest in the NW certification. These findings may help policy-makers to establish homogeneous parameters to differentiate and certify NW.


1. European Commission, DG Agri. 7.10.20, response letter to a CEEV, document AGRI.DDG3.G.2/EM/RR. 2020, Brussels.
2. Maykish, A., R. Rex, and A.K. Sikalidis, Organic Winemaking and Its Subsets; Biodynamic, Natural, and Clean Wine in California. Foods, 2021. 10(1): p. 127.
3. Urdapilleta, I., S. Demarchi, and W.V. Parr, Influence of Culture on Social Representation of Wines produced by Various Methods: Natural, Organic and Conventional. Food Quality and Preference, 2021. 87: p. 104034.
4. Dandrieux, M.V., L’auto-confession de la terre. Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary, 2020. 9(15): p. 206-219.
5. Vecchio, R., et al., Why consumers drink natural wine? Consumer perception and information about natural wine. Agricultural and Food Economics, 2021.
6. Alonso González, P. and E. Parga-Dans, Natural wine: do consumers know what it is, and how natural it really is? Journal of Cleaner Production, 2020. 251: p. 119635.
7. Ashton, P. and H. Kean, People and their pasts: public history today. 2014, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
8. Pabst, E., G. Szolnoki, and S. Mueller Loose, The effects of mandatory ingredient and nutrition labelling for wine consumers – A qualitative study. Wine Economics and Policy, 2019. 8(1): p. 5-15.
9. Laaninen, T., Alcohol labelling, E.E.P.R. Service, Editor. 2021, EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service: Brussels.
10. Akerlof, G.A., The market for" lemons": Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1970. 84(3): p. 488-500.
11. Sáenz-Navajas, M.-P., et al., Wine quality perception: A sensory point of view, in Wine Safety, Consumer Preference, and Human Health. 2016, Springer: Cham. p. 119-138.
12. Lofgren, K.G., T. Persson, and J.W. Weibull, Markets with asymmetric information: the contributions of George Akerlof, Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2002. 104(2): p. 195-211.
13. Fabbrizzi, S., et al., Sustainability and Natural Wines: An Exploratory Analysis on Consumers. Sustainability, 2021. 13(14): p. 7645.
14. Fuentes Fernández, R., Finding Common Ground: The Need for Cooperation and Collaboration in the Spanish Natural Wine Industry. Wine Business Case Research Journal, 2019. 3(1): p. 65-93.
15. Fuentes-Fernández, R. and A. Gilinsky Jr, Coopetition as improvisation: an exploratory comparative case study investigation into Spain’s natural wine industry. International Journal of Wine Business Research, 2021.
16. Pomarici, E. and R. Vecchio, Millennial generation attitudes to sustainable wine: An exploratory study on Italian consumers. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2014. 66: p. 537-545.
17. Delmas, M.A. and N. Lessem, Eco-Premium or Eco-Penalty? Eco-labels and quality in the organic wine market. Business & Society, 2017. 56(2): p. 318-356.
18. Sogari, G., C. Mora, and D. Menozzi, Factors driving sustainable choice: the case of wine. British Food Journal, 2016. 118(3): p. 632-646.
19. D'Amico, M., G. Di Vita, and L. Monaco, Exploring environmental consciousness and consumer preferences for organic wines without sulfites. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2016. 120: p. 64-71.
20. Amato, M., et al., Exploring consumers’ perception and willingness to pay for “Non-Added Sulphite” wines through experimental auctions: a case study in Italy and Spain. Wine Economics and Policy, 2017. 6(2): p. 146-154.
21. Galati, A., et al., “Natural wine” consumers and interest in label information: An analysis of willingness to pay in a new Italian wine market segment. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2019. 227: p. 405-413.
22. Migliore, G., et al., Factors affecting consumer preferences for “natural wine”. British Food Journal, 2020. 122(8): p. 2463-2479.
23. Maguire, J.S., Taste as Market Practice: The Example of “Natural” Wine. Consumer Culture Theory, 2018. 19: p. 71-92.
24. Fuentes Fernández, R. and A. Gilinsky Jr, Competition as improvisation: an exploratory comparative case study investigation into Spain’s natural wine industry. International Journal of Wine Business Research, 2021. ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print).
25. OIV. State of the Vitivinicultural sector in 2019. 2020; Available from: https://www.oiv.int/js/lib/pdfjs/web/viewer.html?file=/public/medias/7284/presentation-oiv-press-conference-april-2020.pdf.
26. Parga-Dans, E., P.A. González, and R. Otero-Enríquez, The role of expert judgments in wine quality assessment: the mismatch between chemical, sensorial and extrinsic cues. British Food Journal, 2022.
27. Hecke, T.V., Power study of anova versus Kruskal-Wallis test. Journal of Statistics and Management Systems, 2012. 15(2-3): p. 241-247.
28. Hair, J.F., et al., Multivariate data analysis: International version. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Haley, RI (1968). Benefit segmentation: a decision-oriented research tool. The Journal of Marketing, 2010. 32(3): p. 30-35.
29. Schäufele, I., D. Pashkova, and U. Hamm, Which consumers opt for organic wine and why? An analysis of the attitude-behaviour link. British Food Journal, 2018.
30. Migliore, G., et al., Factors affecting consumer preferences for “natural wine”: An exploratory study in the Italian market. British Food Journal, 2020.
31. Overton, J. and W.E. Murray, Class in a glass: capital, neoliberalism and social space in the global wine industry. Antipode, 2013. 45(3): p. 702-718.
32. Demossier, M., Contemporary lifestyles: the case of wine, in Culinary Taste. 2012, Routledge. p. 108-122.
33. Bourdieu, P., Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. 1987: Harvard university press.
34. Charters, S. and S. Pettigrew, Why do people drink wine? A consumer-focused exploration. Journal of Food Products Marketing, 2008. 14(3): p. 13-32.
35. Demossier, M., Consuming wine in France: the ‘wandering’drinker and the vin-anomie, in Drinking cultures: sites and practices in the production and expression of identity, T. Wilson, Editor. 2005, Berg: Oxford. p. 129-154.
36. Bazzani, C., et al., Nutritional knowledge and health consciousness: do they affect consumer wine choices? Evidence from a survey in Italy. Nutrients, 2020. 12(1): p. 84.
37. Macht, J., et al., Insights into the organic labelling effect: the special case of wine. British Food Journal, 2021. ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print).
38. Fanasch, P. and B. Frick, The value of signals: Do self-declaration and certification generate price premiums for organic and biodynamic wines? Journal of Cleaner Production, 2020. 249: p. 119415.
39. Seufert, V., N. Ramankutty, and T. Mayerhofer, What is this thing called organic?–How organic farming is codified in regulations. Food Policy, 2017. 68: p. 10-20.
40. Parga-Dans, E. and P. Alonso González, ‘Marketing quality’ in the food sector: Towards a critical engagement with the ‘quality turn’ in wine. Geoforum, 2017. 85: p. 5-8.
41. Agostino, M. and F. Trivieri, Geographical indication and wine exports. An empirical investigation considering the major European producers. Food Policy, 2014. 46: p. 22-36.
42. Defrancesco, E., J.E. Orrego, and A. Gennari, Would ‘New World’wines benefit from protected geographical indications in international markets? The case of Argentinean Malbec. Wine Economics and Policy, 2012. 1(1): p. 63-72.
43. Bonn, M.A., J.J. Cronin Jr, and M. Cho, Do environmental sustainable practices of organic wine suppliers affect consumers’ behavioral intentions? The moderating role of trust. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 2016. 57(1): p. 21-37.
44. Schäufele, I. and U. Hamm, Consumers perceptions, preferences and willingness-to-pay for wine with sustainability characteristics: A review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2017. 147: p. 379-394.
45. Prudham, S. and K.I. MacDonald, Qualifying tradition: Instituted practices in the making of the organic wine market in Languedoc‐Roussillon, France. Journal of Agrarian Change, 2020. 20(4): p. 659-681.
46. Hågård Brown, M., Values of quality in ‘natural’wine production. 2021.
47. Alonso González, P. and E. Parga Dans, The 'terroirist' social movement: The reawakening of wine culture in Spain. Journal of Rural Studies, 2018. 61: p. 184-196.
48. Hu, S., Natural Wine: the Conundrum. 2020.
49. Deroover, K., et al., A scoping review on consumer behaviour related to wine and health. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2021(112): p. 559-580.
50. Platania, M., S. Platania, and G. Santisi, Entertainment marketing, experiential consumption and consumer behavior: the determinant of choice of wine in the store. Wine Economics and Policy, 2016. 5(2): p. 87-95.
51. Laaninen, T., Alcohol labelling. 2021, Brussels: European Parliament Research Service.
52. Streletskaya, N.A., J. Liaukonyte, and H.M. Kaiser, Absence labels: How does information about production practices impact consumer demand? PloS one, 2019. 14(6): p. e0217934.