My husband, and admittedly I, enjoy a nice glass of red wine most nights at dinner. Our favorites are the rich spicy red wines from Argentina, especially Malbec and Rioja. Wine is on my mind because we are leaving soon on a vacation/ work trip/ conference to Buenos Aires, where we plan to sip, or possibly gulp, Argentine vino daily. When I think of wine production I think fertile soil, hilly vineyards bathed in sunshine, and happy workers laughing as they cut grapes into hand-woven baskets.
While my ethereal vision may still be the reality for some of the world’s vineyards, according to Co-op America most of the wine produced in the Global South comes from vineyards where workers are paid poverty level wages and exposed to heavy pesticide use.
Fair trade wine is brand new to the U.S. market. The only U.S. distributor I’ve been able to locate is Etica, and they don’t sell their wine too widely yet. It’s not at all available in Oregon as far as I can tell. I hope to locate and sample fair trade wine while in Argentina, but what’s a responsible wine lover to do here in Oregon?
The obvious answer is to drink local wine, since our state is home to some incredible vineyards. For those times when my meal requires a variety not available locally I consulted my handy Better World Shopping Guide. I discovered that Yellow Tail, Gallo, Banrock Station, Fetzer and other wine producers are considered ethical wines I can enjoy without guilt. Any organic wine is also considered responsible since pesticide use is one of the biggest problems for workers.
Have you found fair trade or organic wine near you? What’s your favorite local wine? If you’ve found a fair trade, organic or local equivalent to Malbec I’d love to know about it.
This posting ends two weeks of fair trade product reviews for Fair Trade Fortnight. I hope these reviews inspire you to change at least one shopping habit. And on another note, we leave soon for Argentina and I will be posting here about my adventures and discoveries from the other side of the world!