What is fair trade wine?

Jan 18, 2009 at 6:10 a.m. ET

Drinking wine - particularly imported wines - can feel like a guilty indulgence when people are throwing around words like green, carbon footprint, local and fair trade. Is there a way to drink wine and still have it be good for the environment, society and your budget? The answer is yes! Drink fair trade wines.

Fair Trade Wine

What is fair trade?

You've likely seen or even consume products, such as coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa and rice, labeled as fair trade certified. Although fair trade wines have been around for years in Europe, for the first time in America, fair trade certified wines are available. A fair trade label means that the product you are purchasing is guaranteed to have been produced following strict social, environmental and economic standards. This worldwide movement was created to help developing countries get a fair price for their exported goods as well as promote sustainability and equal social rights.

Fair trade wine focus

The major focus of fair trade is to work with producers and workers of emergent countries to help them become self-sufficient and avoid being take advantage of. Fair trade wines have become one of the many important ways we can help farmers keep their businesses thriving with livable wages and equal opportunities for all the employees. Buying fair trade is a responsible way to drink wine and enjoy other fair trade certified imported goods.

Fair trade wine tasting notes

The most popular fair trade wines are from Chile, Argentina and South Africa. These are the only three fair trade certified producing wine countries in the world. Etica Wines works closely with all three of these countries and helps to maintain fair trade standards. Etica offers a variety of wines from whites to reds and can be found in stores and restaurants across the country or can be purchased online. Stellar Organics, a wine producer out of South Africa also offers a variety of wines that are organic and fair trade. Fairhills wines, one of the most well-known fair trade brands being sourced from Argentina, Chile and South Africa is available at Organic Wine Trade Company, offering everything from Chardonnay to Merlot to Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wandering Grape and Neu Direction, two other eco-friendly fair trade brands, also have a variety of wines from South Africa and Argentina — also available at Organic Wine Trade Company. Additionally, fair trade wines can be found at Sam's Club stores, Target and Whole Foods Markets nationwide.

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