Fair and Ethical Trading
Working with ethical wine producers around the world
Fair and ethical trading is an important issue for wine producers, especially in countries such as South Africa and Argentina. At Bibendum we are proud to work with several producers who go the extra mile to build a sustainable future for their workers and surrounding communities.
Some of these producers have followed the Fairtrade route, others just quietly carry on doing great work, simply because it is the right thing to do.
Read more about our ethical producers.
South Africa's largest Fairtrade estate
Stellenrust is the largest Fairtrade estate in South Africa, and all of its grapes and wines are entitled to Fairtrade accreditation. This provides a genuine link between the bottle of wine on the shelf and the people who made it, unlike many Fairtrade brands which just buy grapes on the open market.
At Stellenrust, all the money raised from sales of Fairtrade wine – as well as additional support provided by the winery - is allocated to a single fund which is managed by the farm workers and used for the direct benefit of their community in terms of health, education and living standards. It is beginning to make a real difference.
Producers such as Stellenrust are raising the quality bar for Fairtrade wines and helping to break consumer perceptions that all Fairtrade wines should be at the cheaper at the end of the market. After all, there is no reason why wines shouldn’t be both fair and fantastic as there is absolutely no link between ethical practices and brilliant winemaking.
With the right education we can persuade consumers to pay extra for Fairtrade wines.
Vinedos de la Posada
Argentina's first estate to receive Fairtrade certification
The Vinedos de la Posada wines are made at La Riojana, which was the first winery in Argentina to receive Fairtrade certification and is the world's largest producer of certified organic, Fairtrade wines.
Established in 1940, the La Riojana co-operative is based in the Famatina Valley in the province of La Rioja in northwest Argentina. The Vinedos de la Posada wines support one of the local communities that depends on the cooperative for employment and income: Malligasta.
Fairtrade certification not only ensures that vine growers in Malligasta receive a minimum and fair price for their grapes but it also provides benefits for the wider community.
One example of how the funds from the wines are used is the village’s new computer room. This resource is used to train people of all ages in computer literacy, from older people wanting to keep in touch with far away friends and relatives to young students seeking the skills required by modern employers.
SAAM Mountain Vineyards
Playing a leading role in the community
SAAM Mountain Vineyards based at Eensaamheid Farm in Perdeberg in South Africa, plays a leading role at the heart of its community. This attitude is summed up in the name ‘SAAM’ which means ‘together’ in Afrikaans.
SAAM is part of the WIETA Program (Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association) which ensures that all farm and cellar workers are protected under Health and Safety, child labour, minimum wages and freedom from discrimination. Farm workers are supported in various ways including: school fees for children, crèches during working hours, and providing food and accommodation for the employees who need it the most.
Community empowerment through wine
Graham Beck runs one of the most comprehensive and coherent community empowerment programmes in South Africa. A large employer with around 200 full-time and 60 casual people, most drawn from the communities surrounding its Franschhoek and Robertson Estates, Graham Beck has a dedicated Community Development Facilitator to ensure all staff and their families are looked after.
The company has a Wine Workers Forum that meets regularly to discuss issues surrounding training, health and safety, pay and participatory management, ensuring all employees feel involved and listened to.
In addition, the company provides education for workers’ children, help with school fees, transport to and from the farms, day care for younger children and extra-curricular activities such as sports events and a choir. Employees are also eligible for subsidised housing and retired employees receive free housing.
A new initiative currently being planned is the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Development Centre on the Robertson Estate which aims to provide accredited training schemes to help local people acquire the skills to find employment.
Over in Franschhoek, 12 of the local workers have created the Folbekkies Forel Boedery Trust, a small scale trout farm on the Graham Beck Estate which has won national enterprise awards and which is turning a very tidy profit for those involved.