Vegetarian Wines 11/10/10
Roline Bosch takes a big gulp to find out why most wines in SA aren't vegan/veg-friendly.
Wines for sale in the South African market are, for the most part, not vegetarian nor vegan friendly. Things go sour during the fining part of the wine making procedure, which is much like a ‘settling’ process in wines, when animal products such as albumen, from egg whites; Casein, a milk protein; gelatin, from animal skin and tissues; or isinglass, from the bladder of sturgeon fish, are added and then later removed. Perhaps is time to rethink your favourite wine…
Whilst trying to do adequate research for this post on the Internet, it quickly became apparent that almost no information exists on this topic in South Africa. I found it quite frustrating to find news about South African vegetarian and vegan friendly wines on international sites.
A quick entry into the search box on the Wines of South Africa site (WOSA), the mouthpiece for the South African wine industry, for anything related to “vegetarian” or “vegan” also yielded nothing. What I did find however, was the label requirements for all South African wines. Based on this document, it is not mandatory to indicate the wine’s ingredients on the label of the wine. If you know your wine bottles, you’ll also know that most farms do not choose to put ingredients on the labels. This means that if you are a strict vegan or vegetarian, enjoy wine and find yourself in front of your preferred retail outlet’s wine selection, you’ll have no way to know which wine uses the fish-based gelatin binding agent.
I’m interested to know whether this has ever been requested by members of the public to WOSA and if so, how it can not be enforced when all other food and drink-related items clearly state ingredients, or secondary ingredients, on the labels. I’m writing a letter to WOSA for comment and will let you know how it goes. I can only think that if any individual or goup have put this motion forward, the numbers must have been relatively small so as to not warrant further discussion on the topic.
Why it is not a bigger concern and want for vegetarians/vegans? Is it simply not a concern for vegan wine buyers? Do vegans not drink wine? Do vegetarians and vegans know that many wines are not suited for their lifestyle choice? Perhaps vegans/veggies contact the wine supplier’s directly to find out – but this is only if you know that most wines aren’t suited to those that don’t eat animal products. Trying to contact the Vegetarian Society of South African for comment/more information proves pointless as their contact page is broken on their site. I’m hoping for a response from the Vegan Society of South Africa though, and will keep you posted.
On the upside, I did manage to source a small list (from an Irish website – can you imagine!) that you can take with you next time you go to the bottle store to help you make an informed choice. If you know of any wines to add to this list, please feel free. Herewith vegan and veggie-friendly wines available in SA:
- African Legend Colombard
- Douglas Green Chardonnay Colombard
- Douglas Green Cinsault Pinotage
- Evolution Colombard 2003
- Evolution Pinotage 2002
- Cape Bay Mellow Red
- Cape Bay Pinotage 2003
- Evolution Merlot
- Fairview Shiraz
- Kumala Organic Colombard Chardonnay
- Kumala Organic Pinotage Shiraz
- Leopard’s Leap Lookout Red
- Long Mountain All wines
- Niel Joubert Pinotage 2001
- Goats Do Roam Rose
- Boschendal Sauvignon Blanc
- Evolution Chardonnay
- Leopard’s Leap Lookout White
- Long Mountain All wines
- Niel Joubert Chenin Blanc 2002
- Third Millenium Chenin Blanc Chardonnay
In addition to this, a fantastic post on Fairview’s blog casts light on this subject matter, and further gives you some more understanding on the history of wine making and why it’s not friendly for veggies and vegans. Big up to the responsible wine maker – responsible meaning being aware of others’ choices and taking them into consideration.
I’d like to hear from you on this issue if you are a winemaker, or learning to make wine, or a strict veggie/vegan and know what’s the dealio on this vine-rattling issue…