The world of wine is as diverse as the terroirs that produce it. One emerging trend within this ever-evolving industry is the rise of vegan wines. As a sommelier, I am excited to shed light on and explore vegan wines with you. What they are, the methods involved in their production, and their global relevance to wine enthusiasts seeking ethical and eco-friendly options.
Vegan wines are wines that are produced without the use of any animal-derived ingredients or fining agents. The traditional winemaking process often involves the use of animal-derived products such as egg whites, gelatine, or other ingredients for fining or clarifying the wine. Vegan wines, on the other hand, rely on alternative, plant-based methods for achieving the same results, making them suitable for those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Production of Vegan Wines
The foundation of any vegan wine is the grapes themselves. Sustainable and organic vineyard practices are increasingly common in the wine industry worldwide, focusing on minimizing synthetic chemical use and fostering biodiversity.
During the winemaking process, vegan wines utilize plant-based fining agents like bentonite (a type of clay), activated charcoal, or other vegan-friendly alternatives to clarify the wine. This shift away from animal products aligns with vegan principles.
The production of vegan wines is a growing trend worldwide. Winemakers from various countries, including the United States, France, Italy, Australia, and many others, are adapting their techniques to align with the demand for ethically produced wines. This approach not only caters to vegan and vegetarian consumers but also appeals to a broader audience seeking more sustainable and environmentally friendly choices.
Choosing vegan wines does not mean sacrificing taste or quality. In fact, many argue that eliminating animal-derived fining agents allows the wine’s natural flavours and character to shine through. Vegan wines can display vibrant fruit flavours, exceptional balance, and an authentic expression of terroir.
Vegan wines have gained recognition and respect within the global wine community. Their production signifies a broader shift towards ethical, sustainable, and environmentally responsible practices in winemaking. As a sommelier, I encourage wine enthusiasts to explore vegan wines from various regions, appreciating them not just for their taste but also for the commitment to ethical and conscious winemaking that these bottles represent. Whether you’re in South Africa, France, California, or any other wine-producing region, vegan wines are making their mark on the world stage.
Lloyd Jusa | Wine Program Manager
As we enjoy world vegan month this November, why not join us for a delicious fine-dining lunch or dinner at Qunu restaurant and try our vegan wine selection first hand.