Raising the announcement to even greater prominence, the farm received the news as South Africa launched its National Fairtrade Week celebrations.

“This is a significant occasion for us,” says Kleine Zalze managing director Kobus Basson. “It is testament to the hard work by departments across Kleine Zalze, from administration to viticulture that embarked on the road to accreditation almost two years ago.”

As a result, Kleine Zalze will soon launch a range of Fairtrade wines from which its permanent and seasonal workers will derive a direct benefit. A portion of the price paid for every bottle of Kleine Zalze Fairtrade wine will go into a special fund to be used for worker empowerment, care and improving their livelihood. An independent joint committee made up predominantly of workers will manage the funds according to needs such as education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and so.

Founded in the 1960s, Fairtrade’s main aim is to promote greater equality and sustainability in the farming sector. It has been responsible for South African and African Fairtrade farmers and workers receiving in excess of R190-billion through the Fairtrade Development Premium.

Like all members of the august organisation, Kleine Zalze’s operations were audited and processes put in place to address specific social, safety, health and environmental development targets. Along with the establishment of the special worker fund and its joint committee, the farm also had to demonstrate ethical farming practices in the cellar and vineyards.

“We’ve always had ‘Fairtrade hearts’ and taken the view that to be a successful producer in a sustainable way in South Africa a company has to be inclusive and operate in an ethical way,” says Basson. “It was especially gratifying for us to discover that many of the processes required by Fairtrade were already in operation on the farm long before we even looked into applying for accreditation.”

Under the Fairtrade programme, Kleine Zalze will be audited annually while pursuing additional developmental criteria. Its new range, to be made from the 2014 vintage, will proudly bear the Fairtrade label.

Kleine Zalze is also accredited with WIETA, the South African agricultural ethical trade initiative.

Well known for its exceptional wines, Kleine Zalze has consistently featured among top performers in shows locally and abroad. It was one of only three producers to receive an inaugural Platinum award at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards. Six of its wines have achieved five-star status in the highly-regarded Platter’s South African Wine Guide.

For more information, email Wynand van Schalkwyk at [email protected] or visit www.kleinezalze.co.za.