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Co-op excels at Fairtrade Wine Awards

Supermarket chain Co-op scooped half the prizes at the first-ever Fairtrade Wine Awards last week.

The Co-op, which has been something of a crusader for Fairtrade in the UK and has the largest own-label range of any retailer, took four of the eight awards, including Best Overall Red. This was for its Fairtrade Chilean Carmenere 2006, which is made by Los Robles. The Best White award also went to a Chilean wine - Las Lomas’ Equality Sauvignon Blanc 2007.

Forty eight wines were entered from the three Fairtrade-producing countries, which, as well as Chile, are Argentina and South Africa. A top white and red were chosen from each, then they were retasted to award the overall winners.

The Co-op, which said it was ‘thrilled’ with the awards, also won Best Argentine White for its Fairtrade Torrontes-Chardonnay 2007, Best South African White for its Fairtrade Cape Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2007 as well as Best Chilean Red for the Carmenere.

Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation, which aims to encourage consumers to buy products that ensure a better deal for growers in developing countries, said, ‘These wines are not only top quality for the consumers, but also open the door to improved quality of life for the farmers and workers.’

The Co-op’s winning wines are stocked in all its stores, while the Equality Sauvignon Blanc is available at Threshers and selected independent wine merchants.