Glugging without guilt
How employers treat their workers often influences customers' choices. On many wine plantations in developing countries, workers are not protected by labour laws. And with increasing trade liberalisation, many small wine growers are unable to compete and some are forced out of business.
To address the social, political and economic imbalance, there are Fairtrade-certified wine producer organisations in South Africa, Argentina and Chile.
For workers in South Africa, for example, apartheid has meant limited opportunities. But cooperatives and plantations that produce Fairtrade-certified wine are paid the Fairtrade Minimum Price or the market price, whichever is higher. They also receive the Fairtrade Premium to invest in community projects.
Two weeks of Fairtrade promotion in Ireland conclude on March 9. The event highlighted the good work and the challenges faced by Fairtrade producers.
Each of the 45 Irish Fairtrade towns are hosting events. Derry and Clondalkin will also be awarded official Fairtrade city/town status. Visit Fairtrade.ie or Facebook.com/FairtradeIreland or Twitter.com/Fairtrade_ie.
The following are the highest-scoring white and red wines from a selection of Fairtrade bottles from South Africa.
1) Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Peacock Tail, Stellenbosch 13.5pc
Fragrant with freshly squeezed lime combined with gooseberry scents. Dry with a honeyed ripeness to contrast with citrus. Crisp and refreshing. Try with smoked mackerel pate.
€12.29 available from Marks & Spencer
2) Chenin Blanc 2013 Dolphin Bay, Breedekloof 14pc
Rich honeyed and lemon curd aromas. Tangy and full-bodied with a plum, green apple and lemon character. Match with roast pork and apple sauce.
€9.99 from Marks & Spencer
3) Pinotage 2012 Cambalala, Western Cape 13.5pc
Hot chocolate aromas. A gravelly texture supports firm but ripe tannins, sour cherry flavours and semi-ripe plums. Enjoy with lamb chops and a rosemary and garlic breadcrumb topping.
€6.49 at Aldi nationwide
4) Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2013 Fairglobe, Western Cape 14pc
Perfumed with a blackcurrant cordial fruitiness. Firm tannins and fresh juicy blackberry fruit linger to a long finish. Serve with pink liver and fried onions.
€6.79 at Lidl nationwide
5) Shiraz 2013 Six Hats, Western Cape 14.5pc
Intense smoky aromas of roasted coffee beans. Juicy ripe blackberry fruit is framed by an oaky, peppery spice. Full-bodied and rich. Needs a fiery barbecue sauce on a thick steak.
€13.29 at Marks & Spencer nationwide
6) Giacondi Vino Rosso Italy 13pc
Bright, fresh red berry fruity palate, juicy and gentle tannins with a sappy bite of acidity on the finish. A red to serve fridge cool with salami, ham and salad.
€7.49 at O'Brien's 32 outlets
Tindal Wine Merchant's Portfolio Tasting, March 5 at Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2.
Taste wines made naturally. Tickets €10 online at Tindalwine.com/events or €15 at the venue.