You probably know that Fairtrade wine is important, as every bottle bought has an impact on the lives of the farmers and workers who grew the grape. But did you know that Coteaux Les Cèdres, a Fairtrade wine from Lebanon is the flying-off the shelves of several Co-op stores across the world?
It all started in 2000, when 252 farmers from 11 villages across the Deir el Ahmar region, northern part of the fertile Beqaa Valley (Baalbek), created the “Heliopolis Cooperative” thanks to the technical support and grants given by the French department of L’Oise.
The land was formerly home to illegal cannabis plantations which were destroyed following Lebanese government orders in 1993. But this left farmers out of pocket and without a livelihood. A French department (l’Oise) stepped in and assisted the local farmers in planting vines. Funds generated by the Fairtrade premium 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 goal of this initiative was for farmers to abandon the cultivation of illicit crops of poppy and cannabis, and replace that activity with the legal and lucrative farming of vines, specifically of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Caladoc. As a result, “Côteaux les Cèdres” wine was born in 2011 as the first wine in Lebanon and the Middle-East to have both Fairtrade and Organic certifications.
With an exceptional taste, intensity and slight fruitiness Coteaux les Cèdres made The Wine Merchant’s Top 50 in 2013. This wine of a unique character is exported internationally.