Fairtrade and Wine
The Fairtrade mark is a widely recognized ethical label internationally. It is a certification designed to provide the producers of developing countries access to stable markets around the world, while employing sustainable farming, environmental and ethical practices.
The system aims to make a difference in the lives of the people who grow and produce the things we love, like grapes and wine. The Fairtrade system ensures that the workers involved in the production of such products are treated fairly.
Viticulture is challenging work, relying on climate, seasonal work and specialized equipment to produce wine. While most of us are familiar with Fairtrade coffee or chocolate, Fairtrade first certified wine in 2003. Four wine producing countries subscribe to Fairtrade labelling: South Africa, Argentina, Chile and Lebanon. The Fairtrade certification ensures that small-scale growers earn a decent living.
South Africa’s legacy of apartheid and racial segregation often meant that Black workers would have the lowest wages and more perilous tasks in wine estates. In South America, low market prices pushed farm workers into great poverty. Fairtrade aims to improve their situations by guaranteeing a Fairtrade Minimum Price when they sell their wines, offering a Fairtrade Premium (extra funds), banning the use of some highly toxic chemicals and fostering workers’ ability to join independent trade unions.
Bosman Family Vineyards
Bosman Family Vineyards has been a Fairtrade accredited producer since 2009. To earn that certification, Bosman has ensured that their workers enjoy a certain standard of living in terms of housing, education, healthcare and working conditions.
The Bosman Family have long been champions of social, economic and environmental practices to develop the community and support sustainable farming. The relationship between the family and their team is evident in the fact that many of the 260 full-time workers on the estate are fifth-generation families that have as deep a passion for winemaking as the Bosmans themselves. With workers owning 26% of the business, along with a solid skills transfer system and numerous social projects, the workers are invested in every aspect of the business. It was a natural progression for the winemaker to get involved in the Fairtrade scheme.
For every bottle of Generation 8, Adama and Fairtrade wine sold, a percentage of the revenue is given to the Adama Foundation. This is a communal fund administered by the farm employees, with mentorship by management, to spend as they see fit, to improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of their own community. The money raised through the Fairtrade program has gone to transportation, education, housing, sports and culture programs and has directly impacted the lives of almost 6300 people so far.
Opimian supports Fairtrade which, in turn, helps ensure that small-scale growers get a fair deal. That is something to which we can all raise a glass!
Wines that support the Adama Foundation