Fair Trade Wine Tasting Notes
Posted on June 18, 2013 by Fair Trade Town: Chicago
As conscious consumers we have all looked for the fair trade label on our coffee, tea and chocolate bar, and maybe even recently on a banana? While I mainly attribute these items to breakfast time or the three o’clock slump at work, we can also add a fair trade item to our evening hour. Now we can connect to communities through fair trade grapes. The most recent fair trade wine to hit the market has been produced by the daughter and granddaughter of Nelson Mandela. Most people hear the name Mandela and they think of the former South African president, Nelson Mandela. But now the name and legacy can by attributed to wine. The name applied to a product, as well as the fair trade label can, “continue our legacy of the House of Mandela- to promote the values that my father also emphasizes very strongly that he was made by the customs, by the traditions, by the values of his ancestors, they shaped him,” said Maki Mandela. During Apartheid, European settlers controlled many of the South African vineyards and payment for work was done through trade rather than cash. Even till today there is a “hunger wage” coined by vineyard workers to denote the meager wage they make in the South African wine market.
Fair trade wine is a way to place more opportunities into the hands of marginalized groups in South Africa, stated Maya Spaull. Spaull is the Director of New Category Innovation at Fair Trade USA who has partnered with the Black Economic Empowerment program that was established to remedy the effects of Apartheid. With fair trade certification the farmers of ensured a premium to invest in their communities, such as HIV prevention programs and clean water initiatives, high labor standards and environmental stewardship such as no GMOs and progressive CO2 standards. In addition to the fair trade label on the House of Mandela wine bottle, the logo is of a bee that symbolizes courage, compassion and a concern for others.
South Africa is a large wine producing country. The wine industry employs about 450,000 people in South Africa. It is also the largest producer of fair trade wine in the world, followed by Chile and Argentina. In South Africa, two-thirds of fair trade bottles sold were from South Africa. Overall, 5% of wine production is fair trade certified. Fair trade standards are emplaced on 64 farms, employing over 2,419 farmers! Fair Trade USA estimated that the benefits of working under fair trade conditions have touched over 12,000 people in South Africa.
Here are a couple of places to purchase fair trade wine in Chicago:
1. Foremost Liquor’s Center 5301 N. Milwaukee Ave – Ecological Syrah/Malbec and Ecological Torrontes/Chardonay
2. 1,000 Liquors 1,000 West Belmont Ave– Ecological Syrah/Malbec and Ecological Torrontes/Chardonay
3. Binny’s – Live a Little – Really Ravishing Red for $8.99, Fairvalley CHenin Blan from South Africa for $8.99, and Fairvalley Pintage from South Africa priced at $8.99.
4. Whole Foods – Fairhills Chardonay and Fairhills Malbec from South Africa and a Cabernet and Sauvignon from Argentina.
Cheers, Elise Hawley