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World's first Lebanese Fairtrade wine launched in UK

Published:  21 February, 2013

Ehrmanns has launched the world's first Lebanese Fairtrade wine in the UK, which comes ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight (February 25 - March 10).

The Co-operative Coteaux Helipolis was set up on the back of the destruction of illicit cannabis plantations following Lebanese government orders in 1993. The government did not suggest alternative crops to farmers, leaving them out of pocket and without a livelihood.

A French department (l'Oise) stepped in and assisted the local farmers in planting vines, and now the Co-operative has 220 members and cultivates about 240ha.

Funds generated by the Fairtrade premium will go towards the conservation of natural resources, including water through the cultivation of non-irrigated crops; the prevention of desertification and increasing cultivated land mass.

The wine, Coteaux les Cedres du Liban (rrp £13.99), is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Caladoc, and is available for independent retailers, e-commerce and the on-trade.

Latest figures released by the Fairtrade Foundation show that UK sales of products carrying the Fairtrade mark reached an estimated retail value of £1.3 billion in 2011, a 12% increase on 2010 (£1.17 billion), and Fairtrade is the most widely recognised ethical label globally. In 2011 Fairtrade wine grew by 12% in value and 6% in volume.

There are now over 250 Fairtrade wines certified in the UK and Ehrmanns remains a major player in the sector, importing Fairtrade wines from Consorzio Vinicola de Chile (Pico a Pico and Parcel by Parcel) and La Casa del Rey (Finca Monteflores).