Fairtrade wine has a golden marketing opportunity after being selected to spearhead the launch of bespoke Olympic wines at London 2012.
In an Olympic first, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tasked buyers at UK wine merchant Bibendum with securing almost 650,000 litres of 2012 vintage wine for a range to be sold at all Games venues this summer.
The three chosen wines, packaged in 75cl and 18.75cl recyclable PET bottles, represent a coup for Fairtrade, as well as for South Africa and up-and-coming Brazil.
Of the various categories of Fairtrade products in the UK, wine is one of the fastest-growing, with sales up by 12% in volume last year, to 6.5m litres.
South Africa’s largest certified Fairtrade wine estate, Stellenrust, has supplied a Chenin Blanc and a rosé made from Pinotage, Shiraz and Merlot.
James Bennett, account manager at the Fairtrade Foundation told Decanter.com, ‘It shows that Fairtrade wine has come a very long way in terms of quality and in terms of people wanting it.’
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Miolo-owned Seival Estate is supplying a Shiraz and Tempranillo blend, containing a small amount of Gamay Nouveau. While not Fairtrade, its selection is a nod to the next Olympics, Rio 2016, and to Brazil’s emergence on the world wine scene.
Around 9m tickets have been sold for Olympic and Paralympic events, at which an 18.75cl bottle of Olympic wine will cost £4.80, Decanter.com understands.
Bibendum is already the official wine supplier to London 2012 hospitality events.
The merchant declined to comment on the bespoke Olympic wines, citing contractual obligations to the IOC.
The next issue of Decanter magazine features a special preview of wines available in the ‘prestige ticketing’ sections of the Olympic village. ‘Podium wines’ by Anthony Rose is in the August issue of Decanter magazine, on sale July 4.
Written by Chris Mercer