Chile star of Fairtrade Wine Awards

02 November, 2007

Chile has picked up two top prizes at the first ever Fairtrade Wine Awards.

Equality Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc, from Chile’s Maule Valley, scooped the accolade of Best White of the competition, and the Co-op’s Fairtrade Chilean Carmenère from the Los Robles cooperative in Curicó was voted Best Red.

The awards were organised by the UK Fairtrade Wines Committee to raise awareness of the high standard of Fairtrade wines available in the UK.

Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation, announced the winners at the second annual Fairtrade Wines Tasting at Vinopolis on Nov 1. “These wines are not only top quality for the consumers, but also open the door to improved quality of life for the farmers and workers. In a such a fast growing sector as wines, it is encouraging to see the wine community increasing awareness of Fairtrade and so bringing benefits to producers in the developing world,” Lamb said.

Wine writers Liz Morcom MW, Sally Easton MW and Julie Arkell, and Marks & Spencer buyer Jo Ahearne, were among the panel judging the competition, which featured 48 wines from the three countries where Fairtrade-accredited wines are produced.

The Chilean pair beat off four other winners to take the top prizes: Co-op Fairtrade Torrontés/Chardonnay from the La Riojana cooperative (Best Argentinian White); Origin Fairhills Mendoza Shiraz/Tempranillo (Best Argentinian Red); Co-op Fairtrade South African Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Best South African White); and Isabelo Pinotage/Cabernet Sauvignon (Best South African Red).

Wine is one of the fastest-growing Fairtrade products in the UK, according to Emma Sundt, business development officer at the Fairtrade Foundation. “The UK is by far the biggest consumer of Fairtrade wine, with 2.5 million litres sold last year alone, representing a market value of £7 million. This amounts to around 1 per cent of the overall wine market in the UK,” Sundt said.

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