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Fair Trade looks for a spot among Argentine wineries

May 29, 2012 by Mariano Zalazar | in Latest news, News

Only a few wineries have adopted Fairtrade Standards. However, some companies have gained valuable experience and seek to encourage the rest of the wine industry.

The strong development of the Argentine viticulture in the last twenty years has stimulated many wineries to become committed to the environment and good labor practices.

In 1997 the FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International) was created. It established a series of Fairtrade requirements to be met at an international level. Those products produced under these requirements carry a label to be identified by the consumer.

The FLO guarantees decent wages and good working conditions for producers that invest in the production process. Besides, Fairtrade organizations are actively engaged in improving workers’ living conditions by investing in their communities.

The Fair Trade movement operates in more than 60 countries and shows a growing trend. Gabriela Furlotti, Director of Bodega Furlotti and expert on this field said that “Fair Trade is a novelty in Argentina.”

Furlotti and Viñasol exprerience

During 2005 and 2006, Bodega Furlotti produced wine with grapes from Viñasol (Viñas de la Solidaridad) looking forward to obtaining certification and selling the wine with the label. From 2009, other wineries and import companies also started buying grapes from this organization.

Viñasol consists of a group of 25 members – 17 small producers and 8 contractors- that channel their efforts to recover small vineyards of an average age of 60 years that are threatened by low profitability and the expansion of real estate projects.

A better price for “trading fairly”

Grape sale under the Fairtrade mark is one of Viñasol’s aims. With the collaboration of the wineries, volume has increased since 2006 to date. The incorporation of Bodega La Rural, Mendoza Vineyards and Trivento into the company in 2009 was really helpful. This way, Viñasol sold 70,000 kilos of grapes in 2005 while in 2011 sales reached 215,000 kilos.

Up to 2008, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) paid an additional sum of money, called the Fairtrade Premium, of € 0.035 per exported bottle. This allowed Viñasol to have a total income of € 6,900, also adding the five-dollar fee members pay monthly.

Since 2009, the international organization has been paying wineries a premium for kilo of grapes instead of for exported bottle. This permitted Viñasol to increase takings to € 13,650 in 2010. During 2011, fewer grapes were sold, therefore only € 10,750 was gained. These profits were reinvested in community projects as the FLO regulation requires.

Translation: Rocío Acosta

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