Fair Trade Libations Leave You Feeling Extra Good

on 28/10/10 at 9:28 am

BoozeBlog, Spirits

As any connoisseur of top shelf libations will tell you, it’ s all in the ingredients. A tasty bottle will include the handiwork of a talented vintner, brewer or distiller, but if the foundation isn’t solid, the house doesn’t stand a chance. Obviously, the last thing on anyone’ s mind around drink number six is who grew those grapes, but getting to know your source is shortcut number one to a great buzz.

It is with great pleasure then that we present to you Fair Trade Booze 101, an introductory course to imbibing with a purpose. Fair Trade wine and spirits have hit the market with a bang, high-quality beverages that combine that oh so rare mix of alcohol
and social justice.

You might have heard of Fair Trade in its more common forms, as a label fixed to your coffee, bananas, or chocolates. It is an international certification standard that ensures that the people who produced your product were given a fair price for it, had humane working conditions, preserved the local ecosystem, and received community investment funds to help break the cycle of poverty. Buying Fair Trade products improves the lives of poverty stricken small-scale farmers and farm workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America by giving them the tools to build economically, environmentally and socially-sustainable businesses.

But it’ s not only the every-day staples that get the Fair Trade label plastered onto it. Fair Trade wines from Argentina, Chile and South Africa have been on the market for only two years now. And they have just been joined by top-notch vodka made from Fair Trade Certified™ quinoa, along with coffee and goji berry liqueurs.

There are a lot to choose from and time is valuable, so in the interest of mastering your knowledge of Fair Trade options in short order, here is a quick guide to several options that will have you immersed in an ethical buzz in no time.


Fairhills Bus Stop – Perhaps the world’ s best-known Fair Trade wine, Fairhills Bus Stop sources from Argentina and South Africa. Bus Stop White from Western Cape, South Africa is a pale silvery straw color. Interesting aromas of powdery anise cookie, pickled carrots, and spicy quince jam follow through on a round entry to a fruity-yet-dry medium body with tangy peach skin and faint fuel-like minerality. Finishes with a crisp, crisp, melon rind and mineral accented fade. In 2009, it received a Silver Medal in the World Wine Championships. The Fairhills Bus Stop Red from Mendoza Vineyards, Argentina is full-bodied with aromas of berry fruit and chocolate and hints of plum on the lingering palate. It goes great with fall and winter dishes like hearty soups and stews, grilled meats like pork loin and lamb chops or pastas in red sauce. You don’t have to take our word for its great taste – The Beverage Institute’s World Wine Championships awarded it the Gold Medal. Both retail at Whole Foods Market for about $10.

Wandering Grape – These guys give you choices between Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz from South Africa and Malbec-Merlot from Argentina. The Wandering Grape Cabernet Sauvignon – Shiraz was produced from Fair Trade Certified grapes from
the local small farms surrounding the Du Toitkloof in the Breede River Valley of the Western Cape, South Africa. The Wandering Grape Malbec – Merlot was produced with Fair Trade Certified grapes sourced from the communities of Lavalle, San Martin and Medrano areas, in Mendoza, Argentina.

Step by Step – These wines are sourced from a cooperative farm in the Maule Valley region of Chile, and offer a Sauvignon Blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cab has a spicy finish with hints of ground pepper, cassis and blackcurrant.

Visit http://www.organicwinetradecompany.com for more information about these wines.


Got a taste for something other than vino? The Fair Trade Spirits Company has just launched FAIR. Vodka, the first ever vodka made from quinoa and the first vodka ever to include Fair Trade Certified ingredients. The quinoa comes from a Fair Trade
cooperative high in the Bolivian Andes. This vodka ain’t no shtick. It’s top of the line stuff, comparable to any high-end vodka—hand-crafted to enjoy, not to cover up. They also have a goji berry and a coffee liqueur, the latter made from Fair Trade coffee from Chiapas, Mexico and sugar from Malawi and the FAIR. Goji made with Fair Trade sugar.

If you’re unsure what to do with quinoa vodka, check out this specialty cocktail from the folks at Fair Trade Spirits Co.:

FAIR. Mula*
by Danny Ronen, Brand Ambassador for Fair Trade Spirits Company

1.5oz FAIR.Quinoa Vodka
0.25oz fresh lime juice
Pour over ice in a collins glass
Top with Maine Root Ginger Brew (approx 4oz)
Depending on tartness of lime, add 0.25oz simple syrup to balance
Stir to chill
Kick your hind legs
* (Mula is what they would call a “Mule” in Bolivia)

Ever wake up with a throbbing headache, an empty wallet and a ton of regrets? Don’ t lie, we’ ve all been there. Hangover cures are a dime a dozen and none are foolproof. The best way to feel good from the start, as well as the morning after, is by knowing that in buying those drinks you sipped all evening, you were helping to empower poor farmers from Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Malawi build better lives for themselves and their communities.

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