Drink well and support sustainable practices a continent away? Wine not!
This Valentine’s Day, what says love more than drinking wine while supporting families, sustainable agriculture, and Fair Trade practices?
The wines come from the La Rioja Providence, a high desert area in the northwest part of Argentina where dry air and sandy ground create unique grapes. There, a cooperative of over 500 wine producers have worked together for a half century to grow and produce their products.
Most commerce in Argentina comes in and out of its capital, Buenos Aires’s. As a consequence, small towns like those where La Riojana wines come from can find themselves hard-pressed to cover even basic needs. Without a cooperative effort to move their products into the global market, “all of these towns would be disappearing in time,” says Gregorio Pezza, a representative for La Riojana. “This way, we can get the community growing and make it a sustainable process.”
Being a cooperative and Fair Trade certified ensures that producers get a fair return for their product. Part of the certification requires investment in infrastructure in their community, and the proceeds have already gone toward a water facility, and now funds are being directed toward a new school and a hospital. As with their local efforts to ensure customers are getting sustainability produced food by building relationships with farmers, People’s Food Co-op maintains relationships with cooperative representatives, like Pezza.
“Fair trade has no end point, so it’s a continuous process,” says Pezza.
It’s similar to why the wines are available exclusively to co-ops, with People’s Food Co-op being the only place in Minnesota to buy the wine.
So, this February 14th (or any other day for that matter), pair their world-famous Torrentes with fresh fish, their Cabernet with a sweetheart steak from the meat counter, or the Malbec Reserva with some Fair Trade chocolate — and feel good knowing your purchase made a difference.
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