Reported to be the biggest global food trend of 2018, veganism continues to gain popularity at a rapid rate on both a global and local level.
Unsurprisingly, as the number of people adopting a plant-based diet across the globe continues to expand, supermarkets, restaurants, and even wineries are looking to cater to the growing consumer trend.
When it comes to wine, Niel Groenewald, Head of Wine Making at Libertas Vineyards & Estates – a leading producer of premium wine brands – says that there is understandably still some confusion about why any wine wouldn’t be vegan. “When people think of wine, they think of fermented grapes, and you don’t get more plant-based than that, right?” he jokes.
However, Groenewald explains that even if the wine itself is free from animal product, the filter process used to purify the wine may not be. “This is because many producers utilise animal proteins to filter out any solid particles from their wines.
“While this has traditionally been standard practice, choosing a wine that is appropriate to pair with a delicious vegan-friendly meal can be a bit tricky because winemakers are not actually legally required to list ingredients on their wine labels,” he explains.
Luckily for South African vegans, Groenewald says that more and more producers are opting for the use of mineral or planet-based filters.
“Veganism has become extremely popular across South Africa – especially in the Mother City – over the past year, and as a brand inspired by Cape Town, it’s only fitting that all Durbanville Hills wines are 100% vegan. Their wines are filtered with a pea gelatin making them suitable to this modern lifestyle.”
Another wine producer taking on the challenge to become vegan-friendly is Zonnebloem – a proud Stellenbosch wine producer with over one hundred years of winemaking experience – which uses different oak tannins instead of gelatin to round off the palate of the wine”, says Groenewald.
“All Zonnebloem wines are Wine of Origin Stellenbosch, making the winemaking team experts in this region. With their extensive knowledge of the region, they are able to understand the climate, soil, and terrain of this area resulting in their ability to craft exceptional vegan wines.”
Groenewald says that currently, all red wines produced by Zonnebloem are vegan-friendly and that the brand aims to convert all its white wines in the near future.