Fair Enough

Ethical wine hits America

You fill your cloth shopping bag with local produce, organic milk and single-origin coffee. Now, conscientious consumer, make some room for fair-trade wine.

Long available in Europe, fair-trade wine has only recently hit the United States (TransFair, the U.S. certification body, added wine to its list of fair-trade products last year). The fair-trade label ensures that producers and workers earn a living wage and farm sustainably, and that a portion of the profits are invested back into their communities.

The first fair-trade wines arriving on our shores are from South Africa, Chile and Argentina–countries where protections are most needed. Most of the 30 or so brands now available are modest in ambition (and price), but they'll boost your eco cred at picnics and dinner parties. Here are our favorites:

Fairhills Malbec ($10) A smooth, jammy Argentinean red from the country's largest fair-trade cooperative (bottlebargains.com).

Stellar Organics Really Ravishing Red ($11) This easy-drinking South African Shiraz bursts with earthy fruit (shopritewines.com).

Ecologica Syrah-Malbec ($13) Malbec adds ballast to a violet-scented Syrah produced by Argentina's La RioJana, a cooperative made up of 500 family farms (lariojana.com.ar).

Step-By-Step Sauvignon Blanc ($10) A crisp Chilean summer white with grassy and tropical-fruit flavors typical of the varietal (garyswine.com).