Fairtrade Wine


The range of Fairtrade wine is increasing at a phenomenal rate. There is now a wide variety available – including merlot, rosé, sauvignon blanc – from Chile, Argentina and South Africa. The biggest selection of Fairtrade wines in Chelmsford can be purchased through Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society.

The more Fairtrade products we buy, the greater the benefits for some of the world’s poorest producers.

The harsh realities for many hired labour workers in the wine industry is that:

  • During the picking season workers can be on their feet for shifts that last between 12 and 14 hours.
  • Workers don’t always have the right to use basic facilities – there are reports of vineyards where there’s no access to drinking water or toilets.
  • Many workers experience health problems linked to exposure to pesticides and toxic gases used in the industry.
  • Workers are often employed on a casual basis. This means they have fewer rights and receive no paid sick leave, maternity leave or medical cover.

The importance of Fairtrade

Fairtrade aims to change these injustices. It’s about making trade fairer. Fairtrade seeks to strengthen the position of marginalised farmers and workers and enable them to earn enough for today so that they can invest in a better tomorrow. This is done through a minimum price which covers the cost of production (enough for today) and a social premium which producer organisations invest in community projects (a better tomorrow).

Most Fairtrade certified wine producer groups in South Africa are located on large farms that use hired labour. Fairtrade standards for farms using hired labour are based on International Labour Organisation Conventions. Estate or plantation owners must pay decent wages, promote the right to join trade unions and provide good housing where appropriate. Minimum health and safety, as well as environmental standards, must be applied. Forced and child labour are both prohibited. Fairtrade standards must meet or go beyond the national legislation of the country in which they apply. In the case of South Africa, Fairtrade standards embrace Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE), a legislative process to increase employment opportunities and extend the participation of black people in the economy through the transfer of business ownership, management skills and knowledge. The extra resources that Fairtrade delivers, and its underpinning of B-BBEE, mean that workers on commercial farms are empowered both through Fairtrade and B-BBEE.



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