Fairtrade wine brand moves into Chile10th December, 2008 by Patrick Schmitt
Fairhills has extended production into Chile, making it the first fairtrade wine to cover all three fairtrade wine-producing countries. Fairhills now has wine production facilities and community support projects in South Africa, Argentina and Chile.
South Africa-based Origin Wine, owner of the Fairhills brand, has set up an export company in Chile, called Chilean Vineyards S.A. It is based in the southern area of Curicó, and has been certified as a licensed fairtrade exporter.
Following the demise of the Los Robles cooperative, Origin Wine has enlisted four ex Los Robles producers to supply the Fairhills Chile brand and own-label fairtrade wine. Origin has also recruited Paula Bottero, ex winemaker of Los Robles.
Bernard Fontannaz, Origin Wines’ CEO, and driving force behind the original Fairhills project, commented: “As a result of our determined effort and investment on this project, and our commitment to developing and supporting the fairtrade initiative in Chile, we are delighted that we are able to support the future of the all the producers who supplied Los Robles fairtrade wine, and through this new alliance, they will be able to continue to supply The Co-operative [supermarket] for their own-brand fairtrade wines.”
The Co-op will launch a range of Sauvignon Blanc, Carmenère and Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot in early 2009.
Fairhills is currently waiting to obtain fairtrade accreditation for a fifth supply partner, Vina Santa Irene, in the Curicó Valley. A Flo-Cert audit will be completed in January 2009, and if successful, will boost the Fairhills Chile offer to over 3 million litres, making this the largest fairtrade wine project in Chile.
2009 will be the first vintage for Fairhills Chile. The initial objectives of the project are to “kick start” the Los Robles project, which stagnated after Cooperativa Los Robles’ demise, and incorporate a daycare facility and a secure environment for children, together with an improvement in the drinking water facilities and heating systems for households.
As with Fairhills South Africa and Argentina, the range will comprise dual varietals and a rosé, at around £5 in the UK, and an upper tier of single varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère, at around £6.
Patrick Schmitt 10/12/08