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Namaqua first mainstream wine brand to go Fairtrade

Published:  23 June, 2014

South African wine giant Namaqua has converted two of its lines, supplied to the Cooperative in the UK, to Fairtrade - which should boost Fairtrade wine sales in the UK by 10% over the next year.

South African wine giant Namaqua has converted two of its lines, supplied to the Cooperative in the UK, to Fairtrade - which should boost Fairtrade wine sales in the UK by 10% over the next year.

The group, which produces around 75 million litres per year, says the change will equate to around 1 million litres. The move marks the first of the top five South African wine brands to convert to Fairtrade.

The two products concerned come from Namaqua's  Reserve range - its Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc Chardonnay from the 2014 vintage.

Clare Felton, operations director at Namaqua's UK distributor Raisin Social, told she was hopeful that more Fairtrade wines from Namaqua would be available in the UK by the end of the year. "We would like to extend the [Fairtrade] range - probably within the next six months. We would like to launch another two [Fairtrade] lines in bottle and are talking to many retailers all the time."

Namaqua is a huge winery, but Felton pointed out that it can deliver new and separate products within its cellars. "They do all sorts there - it's a big concern but it's very well-organised and managed."

Although the majority of Namaqua wines are sold as bag-in-box, it is capable of producing a wide range of products, such as its premium label Spencer Bay, she said. "It makes 1,000 cases of top notch Sauvignon Blanc in bottle - produced with the care and attention you'd expect from a Stellenbosch estate," Felton said.

Anna Pierides, wine manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: "We are delighted that such a well-known wine brand has made this commitment to Fairtrade. We want to see as many farmers and workers benefitting from Fairtrade as possible, and this unique commitment will ensure more producers will benefit from a fairer price and the additional Fairtrade Premium. This move builds on a growing Fairtrade wine market, increasing in both size and quality."

The products, which launched in the Cooperative in mid-May are currently on offer at £4.49 to £4.66.

Sales of Fairtrade wine in the UK grew 15% by value in 2013 to £27.6 million, according to the Fairtrade Foundation. By volume, sales were up 24%, from 8.8 million litres in 2012 to almost 11 million litres last year.

The Cooperative, which sells over half of all Fairtrade wine in the UK, has sold 35 million bottles of Fairtrade wine in the past 10 years, with 2013 its most successful year to date.