Forget cannabis, make wine

21 February, 2013

The world’s first Lebanese Fairtrade wine – hailing from a region historically more famous for producing cannabis – has landed in the UK.

Coteaux les Cedres du Liban, a blend of Syrah, Cabernet, Tempranillo and Caladoc, is available for independent retailers and retails at £13.99.

The wine was brought to our shores by Ehrmanns and showed off to buyers from across the country at its tasting in London this week.

Buying director Joy Edmonson said: “We have been talking about this wine for 18 months and working on getting it over here and now we have had our first order so we are very excited.”

The wine has been picked up by Suma Wholesale and is available through that firm.

Ehrmanns buying and marketing executive Richard Dennis told OLN: “It’s a really nice story: the region in Lebanon had illegal cannabis plantations and instead of battling the problem the government offered the workers a grant and set up vineyards and generated a fantastic quality wine.

“All the Fairtrade premium goes back to that community so it’s great for them.”

The cooperative, set up with French department l’Oise has 220 members and cultivates around 240ha.
Ehrmanns said funds generated by the wine 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 launch of the wine comes ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight (February 25 – March 10), and is set to capitalise on the continuing growing trend of Fairtrade wines in the UK.

Latest figures show Fairtrade volumes are growing by around 6% annually and 6.5million litres are now sold during the year.

There are now more 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).

Denis said: “Ehrmanns is very pro-Fairtrade, for the right reasons – some people abuse the brand so it’s important that the premium goes back to the community.

“It’s about recognising the quality of Fairtrade and environmental responsibility.

“It’s the first Lebanese Fairtrade wine here and really the first from outside the core three Fairtrade wine countries, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.”

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