Vegan wine? The concept seems baffling since there’s no meat in wine, so why bother? Well, according to People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), wine is often still made using animal-derived products.
During the winemaking process, the liquid is filtered through fining agents to remove protein, yeast, cloudiness, flavours and colourings.
Popular animal-derived fining agents used include blood and bone marrow, casein, chitin (fibre from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, and gelatin.
Luckily, many South African wine estates have embraced vegan winemaking – opting for animal-friendly winemaking. One of the best stories about ethical winemakers comes from Waverley Hills in Tulbach. Here, winemaker Johan Delport has been committed to organic winemaking.
To ensure no animals are harmed, techniques utilised on the farm include covering rows between vineyards with shade cloth to prevent weed germination and blowing vuvuzelas to keep baboons from raiding the vineyards.
A favourite from the vineyards is the Waverley Hills cabernet sauvignon 2015, an organic and vegan-friendly wine in which no animal by-products are used in the production. Due to this wine having no preservatives, it is recommended that it be kept chilled and enjoyed immediately.
This wine is available from the cellar at R75 per bottle. Currently, there’s over 70 local winemakers including vegan and vegetarian wines to their ranges.