Ethical Fine Wines

Everyone's heard of Fairtrade these days. Usually applied to commodity products such as coffee or tea, there are now Fairtrade wines which guarantee a living wage to the farmworkers in countries like South Africa, Chile and Argentina.

Some people are asking the question, "How fair is Fairtrade?". It's worth pointing out that Fairtrade licence fees, certification and audits cost quite a lot and there are some concerns that not enough of the Fairtrade premium is getting through to where it is needed.

The Fairhills project which we visited in South Africa involves 11 farms, each of which have to be certified annually at a cost of approximately £1000 each. Licence fees for the Fairtrade logo are about 1.8% of the net sales value according to the Fairtrade website. The good thing about the Fairhills project is the extra funding that the Coop are giving directly to the project. Seeing the cheque on the wall inside the community centre was a nice sight!

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