A glass of wine is lovely with dinner, and red wine in moderation even touts some health benefits. What a lot of folks don’t know about conventional wine production is that it’s not always great for people or for the planet.
A 2008 study from the Pesticide Action Network found pesticide residue in 40 bottles of wine that they tested in the EU. Not only that, but many workers who produce the wines we drink make barely enough income to sustain themselves and their families. Choosing that bottle carefully can make a big difference, and Worthwhile Wine is helping to make that choice easier!
Worthwhile Wine is an Atlanta startup that’s working to import South African wines that are responsibly made, from the production itself to worker compensation. They even purchase offsets to make up for the wine’s journey from South Africa to here in the US.
I was fortunate to sample a couple of the wines that they import: a 2008 Pinotage from Rooiberg Winery and Partnership Vineyards’ 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. Both were excellent, and I definitely enjoyed my glasses more knowing where the wine came from and how it was made.
Rooiberg Winery has ISO-14001 certification, which means they recycle as much of the water from production as they can and reduce their waste wherever possible. The winery also sets aside part of its land for conservation of native species. They’re a member of South Africa’s Biodiversity Wine Initiative and have already set aside 57.3% of the total area owned by the co-operative farmers who grow their grapes.
Partnership Vineyard is Fair Trade certified and they take fair trade to a whole new level:
“For vineyard workers in South Africa, the legacy of apartheid has limited equal opportunities for economic advancement. In addition to compliance with the basic Fair Trade standards, a special set of Fair Trade guidelines for South Africa has been implemented to support post-apartheid economic empowerment programs. These revolutionary programs, in accordance with our standards, mandate that previously disadvantaged workers own shares of at least 25% of the certified business entity, for the first time providing land and business ownership opportunity to workers.”
If you’re looking for Worthwhile Wine in your area, they have a store locator on their site. If you can’t find a shop carrying their wines near you, they’ve also got online store and a few different wine club options.
Have you guys run across any good sustainably-produced or fair trade wines? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by touchcream