This year The Co-operative celebrates ten years of selling Fairtrade certified wines in the UK and to commemorate this special milestone The Co-operative has invited two representatives from La Riojana co-operative to join them on a comprehensive tour of the UK, including 14 cities, during Fairtrade Fortnight (24th February to 9th March 2014) to spread the message of Fairtrade, highlighting its benefits to growers and local communities, to The Co-operative’s customers, members and employees.

La Riojana’s two representatives joining The Co-operative Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 Producer tour are both women, Daniela Cedron and Luisa Bordon.

Daniela Cedron comes from a family who have been growing grapes for La RIojana co-operative since its establishment in 1940. Daniela works for La Riojana’s export department and has been with La RIojana ever since it has become involved in Fairtrade and has watched the impact it has had on the winery and the local communities.

Luisa Bordon is head teacher of Colegio Nacional Agrotecnico, a secondary school in La Riojana’s local community of Tilimuqui. The school which was built with the Fairtrade premium and additional funding from The Co-operative was inaugurated in May 2010 and is attended by children of La Riojana’s workers and growers. The Tilimuqui Fairtrade school represents an icon project for La Riojana, not only enabling children in the small village of TIlimuqui to further their education for the first time, it has in its own right and under Luisa’s leadership, become a very popular school with a very good reputation, with the number of pupils growing from 33 to over 300 in just four years.

Ed Robinson, wine buyer for The Co-operative, sees Daniela and Luisa’s visit as an excellent way to promote the good work that The Co-operative has been doing with La Riojana in Argentina.

Ed commented “I am really thrilled to have Daniela and Luisa visiting us – there really is no substitute for hearing first hand about the tremendous work which has been going on and the opportunity to get this message out in cities up and down the country is really exciting. The scale and impact of the project in Argentina is genuinely astounding and the Co-operative is very proud to play a part in it.”

In order to cover as much ground as possible, the Co-operative tour has been split in two, with Daniela visiting the south of the country and Luisa visiting the north. The tour started in Manchester, home to The Co-operative’s central support centre, on Monday 24th February and will end in Manchester on Saturday 8th March. The tour will include presentations and tastings of La Riojana wines at a number of membership organised events, as well as events with universities, schools and smaller independent co-operative societies.

For regular updates on The Co-operative producer tour, please follow Twitter @Coop_Poverty and @La_Riojana.