A round-up of the best wines on offer to mark Fairtrade Fortnight
THIS year's theme for Fairtrade Fortnight (February 25-March 10) is 'Take a Step' – and the Fairtrade initiative has certainly progressed by leaps and bounds.
The latest figures suggest that we enjoyed more than 6.5 million litres of Fairtrade wines in 2011 and sales of Fairtrade products in the UK reached £1.32 billion – a 12 per cent increase on the previous year.
Wine lovers drawn to the iconic blue and green Fairtrade tag are not only rewarded with a delicious glass from one of the world's premier wine regions, but it's a pleasurable way to support farmers and workers in the foundation's projects.
To sip for a good cause, here are some terrific tipples which offer value for money and meet the high ethical and environmental standards laid down by Fairtrade.
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South Africa's Fairtrade dominates the market, which is great news for Cape lovers as its grape varieties rank among our favourites.
Named after the Indian runner ducks that race around South Africa's largest organic farm and act as a natural pest control, try Stellar Organics Running Duck, Chenin/Sauvignon 2012, Western Cape, SA (£7.95, Tanners Wines).
A crisp, refreshing blend of peachy chenin fruit and grassy sauvignon, it's delightfully free of any unappealing acidity found in some cheaper chenin blanc and it comes highly recommended.
Another bright white that makes it easy to support green, try Usizo Fairtrade Colombard Sauvignon Blanc 2012, SA (£8.49, Virgin Wines).
The blend of colombard adds some vibrant tropical flavours combined with a limey zestiness and hint of vanilla oak on the finish.
Reminiscent of a fresh fruit salad with red berry aromas, Six Hats Fairtrade Rose 2012, SA (£7.99, Marks & Spencer) from the Citrusdal co-operative is crisp and fresh.
With a taste of wild strawberries, this pretty pink pairs well with Asian food.
The Co-operative has pioneered Fairtrade since its inception and boasts an extensive Fairtrade wine range including fun fizzes such as The Co-operative Fairtrade Sparkling Cape Brut Rose (£6.39, reduced from £7.99, until March 10).
With a delicate nose of rose petals and a clean, refreshing palate of summery fruits, what's not to love about this fruit-driven rose with plenty of spark?
Pinotage is South Africa's signature grape and can veer from being beautifully rich and damson-like to slightly tainted with aromas of burnt tyres.
For anyone who needs convincing of its charms, Extra Special Fairtrade Pinotage 2011, SA (£5, reduced from £6.98, until March 14, Asda) is a smooth, weighty red marked by plummy dark fruit and spice which will win over any sceptics.
From the same Fairhills co-operative, Fairhills Cabernet Petit Verdot 2011, SA (£7.99, Tesco) is surprisingly easy to guzzle at 14% and has a smoky, spicy character with delicious savoury berry flavours and fine-grained tannins.
But for a pukka red at under a fiver, try The Co-operative Fairtrade Bonarda-Shiraz 2012, Argentina (£4.99).
A deep cherry red, this soft South American punches above its weight and the ultra-fruity bonarda tames the spicy shiraz with a fine tannin finish on its tail.