Last night in Brighton, I had the pleasure of attending a tasting of Thandi Wines at FAIR on Queen’s Road. The evening was organised by Brighton-based Elwood Wines who arranged for Vernon Henn, Thandi’s general manager, to lead a tasting of four of Thandi’s wines: two Sauvignon Blanc blends and two Cabernet Sauvignon blends. At just £6.75 per bottle, these wines are great quality, highly drinkable and extremely affordable.
On their website, Thandi describe themselves as a wine business “that niches on quality, spawned the Fairtrade trend, and helps to uplift and empower previously disadvantaged people,” and hearing Vernon speak about the history of Thandi Wines with such passion was truly inspirational.
Thandi – which literally means ‘nurturing love’ – was established in 1995, becoming the first wine business to gain Fair Trade status in 2003. From a small vineyard started from scratch by a community of farmers after the apartheid was dismantled, Thandi has grown into the largest black-owned exporting wine company in South Africa and is the country’s first agricultural Black Economic Empowerment project.
Today, Thandi Wines is 55% owned by a community of 250 families and all profits and Fair Trade premiums are put back into the community, funding education initiatives for the community’s children.
Knowing all of the history and having the pleasure of meeting Vernon in person only served to make these wines all the more enjoyable. This is wine with a conscience – a fair price for fantastic quality wine that benefits so many people.
For more information about Thandi Wines and the wines they have on offer, see their website.