|Co-op to Co-op: La Riojana Wines|
In mid-October, Brattleboro Food Co-op will be introducing our customers to four of La Riojana Co-op wines; Riojana Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Bonarda/Malbec, all of which will retail below $8.
This is an exciting addition to our wine department. The wines are Fair Trade* certified and the price includes a Fair Trade Premium**, which will return to the La Riojana community for projects that benefit the workers and growers of the cooperative.
La Riojana Co-op was established by Italian immigrants in 1940 and is located in La Rioja Province, Argentina. The grapes are sourced from over 4,000 hectares of vineyards and show production of approximately 1.3 million cases annually. There are currently 422 members of the cooperative, 80% of whom are small-scale producers (each having less than three hectares each).
The cooperative guarantees the purchase of grapes at fair and higher prices, access to loans, offers free technical assistance by the co-op's agricultural team, provides hail insurance, and reinvests any remaining profits to buy new machinery and to improve production.
With the program of distribution of wines to United States' co-ops, the Fair Trade premium will give the co-ops' small growers the possibility of certifying their vineyards as organic.
With the demand for organic wines growing, this will give these small farmers the benefit of receiving a higher price for their grapes and the security of a long-term supply.
To date, La Riojana Co-op has invested over $11 million Argentinian pesos of Fair Trade premiums in over 30 projects to benefit their members, workers, and local communities.
Between 2006 and 2014, the key focus of their Fair-Trade projects has been split between:
Brattleboro Food Co-op's Beer and Wine Department Manager, Jeff Houle says, “This is the most exiting thing to hit our shelves in years”!
Cooperative members living in Pituil have identified a need to weigh the truck loads carrying their grapes during harvest time.
Members have voted to dedicate part of the airtrade premium to fund an electronic weighbridge for Pituil.
*Fair Trade is a social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainablility. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as higher social and environmental standards for products such as handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers, and other commodities typically exported from these developing countries. When you purchase products with the Fair Trade Certification, you are helping and supporting farmers and artisans (and their workers) in making their way to a better world through better prices, decent working conditions, and fair terms.
**The Fair Trade premium is a sum of money paid on top of the Fair Trade price for investment in social, environmental or economic development projects.