Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Fair Trade

Economic action to create a just global economy for farmers and artisans



Most of the wine produced in the Global South and sold in the US comes from vineyards where growers are paid poverty wages for their work and are exposed to dangerous pesticides.  To monitor this, the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO) began certifying wine cooperatives in South Africa in 2003 and in Chile and Argentina in 2004.  In 2007, Fair Trade certified wine became available to consumers in the US.


Fair Trade Wine Cooperative

Citrusdal Cellars Cooperative

South Africa

 photo and profile by Etica

The village of Citrusdal is in the center of Africa’s Golden Valley and is home to the 78-member co-op, Citrusdal Cellars. The working cooperative is over 50 years old, but the numerous cellars have a history dating nearly 300 years. In 2002, the co-op was certified Fair Trade to “focus all energies on high-quality, organic and sustainable wine-growing and making, and directly driving social development”.

Farmers tend to 3,000 acres of vines which are located high above sea-level in the mountains surrounding the Olifants River and valley.  The Fair Trade wine that the co-op produces comes from organic hand-picked grapes and is bought and distributed by Etica wines.

When purchasing a $10 bottle of Fair Trade wine from Etica:

  • $1.85 goes directly to the vineyard:
  • 20 cents of this total goes directly to the Fair Trade sponsored Workers Organization to be used for social development. In Chile, this money has built homes, helped with health insurance and purchased a school bus. In South Africa it has purchased a community television, paid for classes, and supported a childcare facility.
  • $1.65 goes to the wine cellar, farmers, and workers. Through Fair Trade they are guaranteed a livable wage.


More about wine:

  • Although TransFair USA, the U.S. Fair Trade label, does not currently have a Fair Trade wine certification, wine is available in the U.S. through distributors from Europe who source through wine certified by FLO, the International Fair Trade Labeling Organization.
  • Fair Trade wine certifies a minimum living wage is paid to grape farmers. The South African certification process additionally requires vineyard workers to maintain a minimum of 25% interest in the winery, in support of the South African government’s policies promoting fair and equal land ownership in the years following Apartheid.
  • Fair Trade wine has been available in Europe since 2003 and is increasing in the U.S. market.

Find where to purchase Fair Trade wine near you! »


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