If you are foraging for vegan-friendly wines this Veganuary, be sure to explore the full range of wines from Lourensford Estate in Somerset West.

Wine is made from grapes so all wines must be vegan friendly, right? Not necessarily. Winemakers traditionally use animal-sourced by-products to clarify wines in a process called “fining” to remove unwanted elements in the wine which make it appear hazy or cloudy. These unwanted elements chemically bind with the fining agents to settle at the bottom of the tank or barrel and are then removed to leave a bright, clear wine.

Traditional animal-sourced fining agents include casein (the protein in milk), albumin in egg whites, gelatin from animal bones or cartilage, and isinglass (the collagen protein in fish bladders). However, increasingly winemakers from estates such as Lourensford are using vegan-friendly alternatives.

At the forefront of it all is Cellarmaster Hannes Nel who along with his innovative winemaking team, prides himself on creating fresh-from-nature wines that celebrate the purest form of the grape with minimal intervention.

“We use mineral and plant derived products during the winemaking process,” says Nel. “These ingredients such as bentonite, polymust, vegecol, PVPP and activated carbon, are sourced from reputable and accredited manufacturers in the world, are great alternatives and we are able to achieve a more eco-conscious end result in the bottle without sacrificing any quality or flavour.”

“Lourensford’s vegan-friendly wines are testimony to an estate with nature and environmental sustainability at the core of what we do,” adds Nel.

Because no animal by-products are used as fining agents, Lourensford can confidently state that the entire range, from the flagship Chrysalis to the awarded Limited Release and The Dome ranges as well as the River Garden Classique and River Garden Flower Collection, is vegan-friendly. “It is not difficult to make a vegan-friendly wine, it just comes down to the choice of fining agent during the winemaking process,” says Nel.

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