Fair Trade Certified

Manitoba Liquor Mart is committed to Fairtrade wines. Manitobans can enjoy a selection of Fairtrade wines from Chile, Argentina and South Africa.

Throughout the World, thousands of vineyards and wine producers specialize in the production of a wide variety of wines with unique flavours. However, increasing trade liberalization affects many small growers. They frequently cannot compete with large corporations and are forced to withdraw from the international market.

There are currently Fair Trade Certified wine producer organizations in South Africa, Argentina, and Chile. Just as each country produces its unique grape varieties and blends, producers in these three countries also face unique economic, social and political challenges.

Small family farmers cultivating wine grapes in Argentina and Chile are susceptible to low market prices which do not generate enough income to meet their family’s basic needs. This limits their opportunity to invest in improving farming systems, lowers productivity, and threatens their livelihood. Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers are able to cover their costs of production, supporting grape growers to maintain ownership of their farms against the pressure of large business competitors.

For vineyard workers in South Africa, the legacy of apartheid has meant limited opportunities for economic advancement. The development of the wine industry was dependent on slave labour. A special set of Fair Trade guidelines for South Africa has been implemented to support post-apartheid economic empowerment.

Large wine plantations depend very heavily on hired labour, and rely on seasonal labour during the grape harvest. As a result, there are many temporary labourers working on wine plantations. In fact, almost 4/5 of workers on South African wine farms are seasonal.

Without adequate labour protection, hired labourers in the South often endure poor working conditions and are not protected from labour abuses. Farm workers are frequently excluded from decision-making structures and are offered no special provisions for accessing health, transportation, and/or educational services. 

Small farm co-operatives also struggle. Many marginalized growers harvest their wine without knowing if they will manage to sell their crops at a price above production costs. These conditions, and the overall dynamics of the industry, are causing more and more small producers to move away from wine harvesting.

Small farmers' co-operatives and plantations that produce Fair Trade certified wine and wine grapes are guaranteed a minimum price to cover the costs of sustainable production, as well as a premium to invest in social and economic initiatives in their communities. Wine and wine grapes are produced on plantations and on small farm co-operatives. For this reason, Fair Trade has established standards for wine grapes production for both plantations and small farmer organizations.

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