Just Drinking 2013
A Tasting of Organic & Fairly-Traded Wines
Friday 22nd February
£9 in advance
42-46 Bethel Street
Norwich NR2 1NR
Cheap is good, and cheaper is better. Most dominant retailers send this message. And when money is scarce and incomes dwindling, it can be seductive. But if prices strike us as unusually cheap, then somebody else is footing the bill.
Often, that’s the producer. Especially when it comes to food and drink. Perishable commodities need to be moved on quickly. Once the product is made, it becomes a buyer’s market. Think of all the “bin-end” wines available at the supermarket… how many times do you see a long-term relationship with the same producer? Often, purchasing policy amongst major retailers amounts to a smash-and-grab raid.
There is an alternative paradigm. The Fairtrade Foundation reimagines trade with countries rich in raw materials but poor in financial clout. Fair trade addresses an audience willing to balance economic with social and environmental investment, and the Fairtrade symbol assures the public that a fair price has been paid to the producer.
However, there is no similarly recognised European logo. And as the grocery market share of the four major UK supermarkets has topped 76%, producers are ever-more vulnerable to their whims. Tales are legion of supermarkets withdrawing their custom overnight (often after the producer has upscaled their business to cope with the scale of demand), if a similar commodity can be sourced for cheaper elsewhere. This leaves producers in a race to the bottom – constantly cutting corners to make a product cheaper. It’s hard to see who wins this race.
When we divorce the economic from the social and environmental, our society and our environment suffer. Our consumer choices shape our world. Looking solely at the bottom line invites poor working conditions, unemployment and environmental degredation. Concepts that most people find unpalatable – but end up supporting at the shops.
These themes underpin Just Drinking, the Greenhouse’s next organic wine tasting. The event takes place at 7.30 on Friday February 22nd, the date that heralds this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight. The tasting will be led by Lesley Atkins from Vinceremos Wines, the specialist organic importer and wholesaler, which has supplied the Greenhouse since it first became licensed, back in 2000.
Lesley will introduce six organic, vegan and fairly traded wines from “emerging” and “established” economies, including a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, an Argentinean Shiraz-Malbec, and a Cabernet Sauvignon (without added sulphites) from South Africa’s Stellar Winery. We are excited to integrate these New World wines into our predominantly Old World range, made up of European producers who are investing time and money into cultivating land and trade ethically. To represent these, we will feature two wines from the Fasoli Gino Brothers, a family-run biodynamic wine producer in Verona, northern Italy. We will taste their Soave Borgoletto and Valpolicella Corte del Pozzo, before ending the evening on a sweet note, with Stellar’s dessert wine, a Muscat called ‘Heaven on Earth’ – the grapes of which were dried on Rooibos leaves before pressing. Rich aromas of apricot, honey and redbush and sumptuous fruit flavours will warm the way home.
A place at Just Drinking costs £9. You can reserve yours in the Greenhouse shop.
The evening’s wines in full:
1) Ventura, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Chile, 12.5% vol., £9.50 (rrp).
2) Soave Borgoletto, Fasoli Gino 2011
Verona, Italy, 12.5%, £9.65. Grape varieties: Gargenega / Trebbiano
3) Los Andes, Shiraz-Malbec, La Riojana 2011
Argentina, 12.5% vol., £8.95
4) Cabernet Sauvignon Stellar Organics 2011
South Africa, 13% vol., £8.75.
5) Valpolicella, La Corte del Pozzo, Fasoli Gino 2010
Verona, Italy, 14%, £12.50. Grape varieties: Corvina / Rondinella
6) Heaven on Earth Muscat, Stellar Organics
South Africa, 11%, £10.85 (for 375cl). Grape variety: Muscat à Petits Grains.
Feedback from Celebration at Home, our last wine tasting:
“Informal, informative & enjoyable.”
“Very enjoyable evening”
“As usual – excellent”