South African red wines claim ethical seal

Two Place in the Sun reds are celebrating the achievement of being amongst the very first wines entitled to carry South Africa’s ground-breaking ethical seal, granted by the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) for complying with its code of good conduct.

The wines are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from the 2011 vintage. Both are international medallists, with the 2011 Shiraz earning a gold medal in London at the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards, and the Cabernet Sauvignon taking silver.

Place in the Sun is one of just eight brands with wines currently permitted to carry the fully traceable seal that serves to confirm that fair labour practices are being followed in their production. To date, just 30 wines have been successfully audited.

The WIETA code is premised on the base code of the International Labour Conventions’ Ethical Trading Initiative and also incorporates South African labour legislation.

The ethical seal is granted to individual wines, rather than to wine brands, as many producers source their grapes from a variety of growers. The seal, that tracks fair practices from the vineyard to the cellar, and the eventual packaging of the wine, is only given where compliance with WIETA’s code of conduct has been recognised at all stages of the production process, and follows a rigorous auditing process.

To be eligible for accreditation, brand owners have to identify all their suppliers in the auditing process, the majority of whom must be WIETA-accredited.

The Place in the Sun brand already carries Fairtrade certification. The range is produced from grapes sourced from prime Stellenbosch vineyards that have been certified by FLO-CERT under the Fair Label Organisation (FLO) Standards that forms part of Fairtrade.  Growers are paid a premium for their fruit which is used for the social development of the wine-farm workers, who decide on how the funds are to be spent.

At present, premiums fund early learning projects; tuition and school uniforms at schools of choice amongst farm workers; stepped up sporting activities; and the creation of a vegetable garden to improve nutrition amongst local communities.

According to marketing spokesperson for the brand, Deidre Samson, Place in the Sun is working towards having the other two wines in the range certified to carry the ethical seal. “We’ll then have a full house. The brand has already been widely acknowledged for its worker community upliftment initiatives and the seal will serve as yet another demonstration of how we seek to improve the quality of life of the people who play such a critical role in making our wines.”

The brand, which is marketed globally, recently achieved listings in Iceland, The Netherlands and Canada, she said, where consumers were strong supporters of socially responsible brands. Place in the Sun is also sold in Taiwan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *