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Sam's Club this month is launching its first Fair Trade Certified wine, Neu Direction, a 100 percent Malbec from the winegrowing region of Lujan de Cuyo in Argentina. The wine, which Sam’s Clubs said it is carrying exclusively, is one of only a few to attain Fair Trade status in the first year of the Fair Trade Wine certification program in the U.S.
Neu Direction is produced by Vina de la Solidaridad ("vines of solidarity"), a co-op of 20 small farms that grow and hand-pick the grapes; and the family-owned winery Bodega Furlotti.
The Malbec, named the best Fair Trade Certified red wine in the world by the London Independent in February, features moderate tannins, and ripe plum and cherry flavors, accented by a touch of chocolate, said Sam’s.
"This is an extremely food-friendly red wine that complements dishes with pork, lamb, duck, turkey, and beef, even salmon," said Dex McCreary, senior merchandise director, wine and spirits at Sam's Club. "We tried nearly 100 different fair trade wines to find the right one, and it's gratifying to know we are helping the local growers in Mendoza and serving our members a premium product."
Workers in Fair Trade Certified programs are guaranteed a fair price for their goods, based on an analysis of the cost of the living in their area, allowing for funds to develop schools, medical clinics, and other basics. Nonprofit organization TransFair administers the process in the United States.
Sam's Club called the wine Neu Direction since it represents change, and incorporated this theme into the label design, which depicts a tree in between seasons, with a bird ready to take flight.
The retailer plans a series of tastings where permitted, to introduce the wine to consumers.
Neu Direction will sell for about $10 a bottle in the over 450 Sam's Club locations authorized to sell wine. Sam's Club additionally offers Fair Trade Certified coffee across its chain, as well as bananas, black tea, and sugar in some clubs and roses online.
Sam's Club, a division of Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., serves more than 47 million U.S. members, with locations nationwide and in Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.