Alanna and Pete Chapman started 27seconds to provide a way to help put an end to modern-day slavery.
Words: Lara Wyatt
Alanna and Pete Chapman’s family vineyard, Terrace Edge Vineyard and Olive Grove, in Waipara Valley, North Canterbury is where Pete is the vineyard manager, and is also where the grapes for 27seconds are grown.
The profits from purchases of 27seconds wine go directly to Hagar — an organisation that works with survivors of slavery and severe abuse in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam.
We spoke with Alanna about how the concept for 27seconds came about, and how buying 27seconds wine really makes a difference.
Good: Can you tell us about the moment you realised modern-day slavery existed and what sort of impact that had on you?
Alanna Chapman: For us, the moment was a Christmas Eve in a red-light district in Kolkata. We were visiting friends in Kolkata, India who run a business called Freeset, which offers alternative employment to women living in Sonagachi, Asia’s largest red-light district.
It’s about a one-kilometre-square area with some estimating that 11,000 sex workers [live within]. So, as you can imagine, it is crowded. It’s full of multi-storey buildings, narrow roads and alleyways. The sex workers line the sides of the streets and the 1000s of men walk through buying their services.
We decided to go visit one of the employees who we had become friends with who still lived in the district. Our friend said, “We’ll take a shortcut through here”, and we turned down an alleyway. It was quieter than the main streets and the girls looked distinctly different. Asking our friend why they were different, he replied that they were from Nepal and had been trafficked and sold into prostitution to India.
While we had known about modern-day slavery, seeing this the reality hit us and it was heartbreaking.
Tell us more about how this realisation spurred on the creation of 27seconds wine, and what your history with wine had been prior to this?
We became aware of how blessed our lives had been through no choice of our own. This, and a desire to give back, made us want to use what we had to make a difference. At first we didn’t think of using wine as it’s not really a natural fit — wine and slavery.
Pete is the vineyard manager for our family vineyard Terrace Edge. In 2017, the crop estimates were looking really good and Pete thought, why not use the extra grapes to make a wine range where we give 100 per cent of the profits away. At first we thought it would just be a one-off fundraiser, but then we started to love the idea of people being able to use their wine as a vehicle to create change. We are now a charitable company.
Which organisations do you choose to work with to make this happen?
Just Hagar at the moment. Later we might add more, but at the moment, just Hagar.
Can you summarise how people buying 27seconds wine will make a difference to reducing slavery in the world?
Every time someone buys our wine, they become part of a solution in a small way. Because with each bottle sold, we give away 100 per cent of the profits to help survivors of slavery. It won’t end modern-day slavery, but it will play a part. If you’re going to buy a wine, why not buy one that tastes good and does some good at the same time.