As each New Year rings in, resolutions are made; some are kept, most are probably broken. Whether it’s to lose a few kilograms, improve fitness levels, abstain from alcohol for “dry January”, travel more or take on a new hobby, these resolutions normally seem to revolve around oneself and improving one’s health, whether physical or mental.
One such resolution or trend which seems to be taking the world by storm is Veganuary. A movement with the aim of encouraging one to practice a vegan lifestyle for the month of January with the goal of becoming completely vegan. Everyone has a different reason for attempting this challenge. Whether it’s for their love of animals, a detox after overindulging in the festive season, weight loss… the list goes on.
With this in mind, I was recently asked “Are all wines vegan friendly?” The short answer is no – but what makes a wine to not vegan friendly? Surely, it’s only fermented grape juice?
Why is wine not vegan?
One of the final processes involved in producing wine is clarification and stabilization, whereby any insoluble matter in the wine such as lees (dead yeast cells), tartrates, pectins and anything else the wine maker doesn’t desire in the final product is removed. One such process which can be utilized is called fining, in which a fining agent is added to the wine to clarify it. Some of the more traditional fining agents include egg whites, casein (a milk protein), gelatin or even isinglass (a product obtained from fish swim bladders). Even though the spent fining is usually removed before bottling, these traditional fining agents may leave trace elements, thereby rendering the final product as non-vegan. However, a lot of modern wineries are turning towards animal-friendly products and utilizing fining agents such as carbon, limestone, silica gel, bentonite clay and kaolin clay.
For the strict vegan, even though no animal products may have been utilized in the production of the wine, other factors could also render the wine non-vegan. Namely the use of beeswax to seal the bottle or the cork. An agglomerated cork is one made from granulated by-products of natural cork production. The miniscule granules that make up the cork need to be stuck together, and although Diam (one of the largest cork manufacturers) launched a cork with a plant-based binder in 2017, this is usually done with milk-based glues.
During your stay at Londolozi, there are a many wines which one can enjoy if you are following a vegan lifestyle, these include wines from:
- Graham Beck
- Waterford Estate (Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon)
- Keermont Vineyards
For a few more, consult the wine list on the Londolozi app...
Whether you are following a vegan lifestyle or not do you prefer to drink vegan friendly wines? If so, which are your favourite ones?
Filed under Relais and Châteaux Wildlife
Interesting facts Kim. I remember we discussed the clarification process a few weeks ago. It is good to know that wine makers are moving away from traditional methods that won’t harm animals.
I have learned something new today! thank you
Hi . . . great blog, but enough with the science . . . time to taste some wine . . . and exactly where is the Wine Tasting Room?
This was a great educational blog. As I was working in a winery I knew about fining as we used egg whites and isinglass, but I never thought there could be trace residue after filtering…. of course back then, Vegans probably numbered 1/500,000.
You’ve done your research and compiled useful information for all of us avid readers of the Londolozi blog. Good to know you’ve a supply of Vegan wines to satiate your guests desires to adhere to their food lifestyle. I’m curious about spirits….,, another blog perhaps?!