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Ehrmanns takes lead with Lebanese Fairtrade wine

UK importer Ehrmanns has introduced what it claims is the world’s first Lebanese Fairtrade wine.

Coteaux Les Cedres

The wine, Coteaux Les Cedres, is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Caladoc, which is produced by the Coteaux Helipolis Cooperative near Aïnata in the north of Lebanon.

The cooperative was set up in 1993 after the Lebanese government, under international pressure, launched a crackdown on illegal cannabis plantations in the region. However, after the crops had been destroyed, farmers were left with little support in implementing an alternative source of income.

With help from the northern French department of L’Oise, the winemaking cooperative was set up in 2000 and now works with 220 members who between them cultivate around 240 hectares of vineyard.

Now Ehrmanns is launching the wine with an RRP of £13.99 in time for Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 25 February until 5 March.

Describing the this latest addition to the UK importer’s portfolio as offering “a different take for the Lebanese wine lover”, Joy Edmondson, director of buying & marketing at Ehrmanns told the drinks business: “Coteaux Heliopolis shares our ethical trading philosophy and drive to push the boundaries of Fairtrade wine quality.”

As for potential outlets for the wine, Edmondson commented: “Feedback so far suggests the brand will achieve significant success in the and independent specialist arenas.”

The launch comes as both Fairtrade and Lebanese wines show promising growth in the UK market.

According to figures from the Fairtrade Foundation, in 2011 UK sales of Fairtrade wine grew by 12% in value and 6% in volume to total 6.5 million litres. There are now over 250 certified Fairtrade wines in the UK.

Meanwhile Wines of Lebanon recently reported a strong increase in exports to the UK following a two year campaign. The year 2011/12 saw the country’s volume exports to the UK grow by 33% year-on year to reach a value of US$4.3m.

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