Premium Fairtrade range launched

Ehrmanns is hoping to improve perceptions of the quality of Fairtrade wine by introducing a premium range to the UK.

Soluna will be launched at the Argentinian tasting on Sept 19 and will target independent retailers, organic specialists and multiples such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

Joy Rushton, Ehrmanns buying manager for Fairtrade, said: "We believe the Soluna range is set to elevate perceptions of the Fairtrade category and raise awareness of the high standard of wines available, as well as drawing further attention to the benefits of Fairtrade to the local growers and their communities."

The Soluna range consists of two Malbecs - one of which is organic - with rrps of £8.99 and £9.99.

Grapes for the wines come from 19 small growers in Mendoza who have formed an association called Vinasol.

Through the Fairtrade scheme the growers are guaranteed a minimum price for their grapes and also receive a social premium which is used to fund community projects.

Ehrmanns has been importing Fairtrade wine to the UK since 2004.

Fairtrade wine has grown hugely over the past four years. From 2004 to 2006, the Fairtrade Foundation's wine category grew from 800,000 bottles sold to 3 million.

Wines of Argentina's annual trade tasting will be held at Lord's Cricket Ground on Sept 19. The tasting will see more than 80 exhibitors show 1,000 of the country's finest wines - the biggest Argentinian tasting so far.

Visitors will be able to taste Mendoza Malbec 2007 from a selection of 30 on a satellite table, while another table will showcase wine made from lesser-known grape varieties.

A series of short seminars and talks will take place throughout the day.

Invitations will shortly be sent by post, but visitors can register to attend online at, or by calling 0208 973 4023.

A tasting catalogue will be available on the website from Sept 1.

News in brief

Champagne Perrier-Jouët has launched Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 1999, which will be available to specialist independents, prestige department stores and the on-trade with an rrp of £85. The Champagne is a blend of 49 per cent Chardonnay from Cramant, Avize, Chouilly and le Mesnil sur Oger, 46 per cent Pinot Noir from Bouzy, Mailly, Verzy and Aÿ and 5 per cent Pinot Meunier from Dizy, Hautvillers and Venteuil. Cellarmaster Hervé Deschamps described the Champagne as "a very elegant cuvée" with "honeyed notes and biscuity brioche aromas".

Myliko Wines has joined up with JF Hillebrand to develop an environmentally-friendly container service from Hungary. It uses rail to transport containers across Hungary to continental ports for onward shipping to the UK. Until now, transport options to the UK have been limited for growers, being overland by trailer. Myliko Wines director Nish Kotecha said: " The result is a service that's more effective, as it offers more flexibility than traditional road movements and is significantly better for the environment, reducing the total number of movements per annum by offering 10 per cent higher payloads."

Central Otago Winegrowers will hold a tasting on Sept 17 at The Worx Studios in London, including a press and trade tasting followed by a consumer tasting in the evening. The association is made up of 45 like-minded producers from the New Zealand region who have pooled their resources to promote their cool-climate wines. For more details contact Laura on or tel 07740 306302.

Languedoc Roussillon specialist Bessière has launched Domaine de Brignac - a range of varietal Vins de Pays d'Oc aimed at the UK off-trade. The six-strong selection consists of Grenache Gris rosé, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, with an rrp of £5-£6.

The Autumn Exclusive French Wines Fair will take place at Marylebone Cricket Club on Sept 12.

The trade-only tasting showcases French wines priced above £6. Regions covered include Alsace, Bordeaux and Burgundy while producers include Caves du Mont Tauch, Champagne par Excellence, Domaine de Cray and Mentzendorff. To register attendance, contact Tail's lawnmower racing team came in 16th at the British Lawnmower Association's 12-hour endurance race. The trio - sporting long yellow tails - battled through torrential rain and thick mud in the 55-team race.