As wine enthusiasts, we all appreciate a good bottle of wine. But have you ever wondered if your wine is vegan? In today's environmentally conscious world, sustainability and ethical choices are becoming increasingly important, even in the world of winemaking.
At Brokenwood, we're invested in long-term sustainability practices and products. From grapes in the vineyard to wine in the glass our newly released range of vegan wines in both red and white blends, have been made with a view to take care of this beautiful pocket of land we call home-all while continuing to make great wine and have fun!
Here, we delve into the details of vegan wine, what makes a wine vegan from a winemaking perspective, and why choosing vegan wines with sustainability in mind is becoming a popular choice among so many wine consumers. We also take a close-up look at our latest vegan wine range Twenty70 and why these red and white blends work so perfectly as the ultimate eco-conscious and all-delicious wines.
In a nutshell, vegan wine is exactly what you think it is: wine made without the use of any animal byproducts throughout the winemaking process. We hear what you might be wondering: 'Isn't all wine made without animal byproducts?'
The answer? Not quite.
While wine is the last thing you might expect to include any animal derived products, there are actually a few things involved in the winemaking process that call for them.
Brokenwood Lab and Sustainability Coordinator Lorrae St Vincent explains what vegan wine really means: ‘Vegan friendly means that we haven’t used any animal byproducts throughout the whole winemaking process,’ says Lorrae. ‘Normally we would use a milk derived protein known as casein in whites to reduce the levels of phenolic compounds, but we haven't used it in these [vegan] wines. It's a really new and exciting experience, especially for white wines.'
Traditionally, animal derived products such as egg whites and milk casein have been used as fining agents to clarify wines. White wines are typically made using these agents, and here at Brokenwood, most of our white wines follow these age-old techniques.
Over the last couple of years, we've thought a lot about sustainability in our industry. Vegan wines in Australia are taking off, and we wanted to be part of that action by leading both Brokenwood Wines and the Hunter Valley region into a new era of sustainable winemaking and wine products.
First, we had to come up with winemaking methods and techniques tailored to vegan wine production. Lorrae describes the traditional winemaking process as often requiring intervention at different stages, and the use of animal byproduct a necessity.
'With something like Twenty70, we really wanted to limit that intervention process,' Lorrae recalls. 'Limited intervention from a winemaking perspective means that we've tried to make this wine an expression of just what it is without any other input from things like fining agents. We haven't inoculated it with yeast, and we haven't used animal derived fining products that are usually added to wines.'
This winemaking method allows the unique characteristics of the fruit to be fully expressed in the final wine. It's a win-win situation; the wines are vegan friendly in both ingredients and production (including packaging, but more on that later), and they're a real, honest portrayal of the thriving Hunter Valley region. No additives, no animal byproducts, nothing but consciously crafted and delicious Brokenwood wine.
We are also aware of the growing concerns about sulphur allergies in wines. Traditionally wines are made with small quantities of sulphur added as a preservative, but we wanted the Twenty70 range to be allergen friendly.
Lorrae explains, 'the idea was that our vegan wines would be low sulphur and low preservative. There are so many allergies to all the artificial preservatives added to produce these days, and for good reason. We wanted to offer wines that worked for people and the planet.'
By reducing the use of sulphur in our winemaking process, we aim to provide a wine that is accessible to those who may have sulphur sensitivities. But, of course, many of those with allergies to preservatives have likely already found a modern-day solution to their problems: red wine.
In general, red wine is considered vegan as it's made from fermented grapes and doesn't typically contain any animal-derived ingredients.
‘Since 2017, all our reds have been vegan,’ Lorrae explains. ‘We’ve taken the path of not using any fining agents in our reds in particular. From a stylistic perspective, our red wines just don't need any fining, which is a great result.’
This means that Brokenwood doesn’t use any animal byproducts or egg white, which is typically used in red wine fining, in the winemaking process or ingredients of our entire range of red wines. Nothing. Absolutely zilch. The reason? We simply don’t need to.
‘There are more plant based alternative fining agents available now,’ Lorrae tells us, ‘so we’re currently trialling these on our white wines to see if they do the same job and give us the effect we’re after.’
Most of Brokenwood’s red wine has now moved to larger format oak barrels known as puncheons, rather than using the traditional 228L barrique oak casks across the board.
‘We want to keep all of that good stuff in,’ explains Lorrae. ‘Larger format oak has less surface area [than small casks], so the wine gets infused with more subtle oak flavours. The resulting wine speaks more of the vineyard itself rather than the oak you’ve used. It’s a great move for us.’
Crafted with sustainability and the environment in mind, our newly released Twenty70 red and white wines are made with limited intervention and without the use of any animal products throughout the entire winemaking process.
‘The idea was to make Twenty70 vegan friendly so it would appeal to people who are conscious about sustainability and the environment,’ Lorrae says. ‘It’s another step for us in pushing the boundaries of sustainability in winemaking, especially in the Hunter region.’
Lorrae says that vegan wine in Australia is on the rise, with renowned winemaking regions like South Australia at the forefront of sustainability efforts in the industry. Lorrae and Twenty70 lead winemaker Kate Sturgess are proud to be collaborating on this exciting new product to launch the Hunter Valley into the ranks of game changing sustainability initiatives.
Through Lorrae and Kate’s combined expert efforts, Twenty70 has already begun to make waves in eco-friendly winemaking in the Hunter Valley since its first vintage release last year.
Both the red and white blends of Twenty70 have been crafted with the vegan wine production alternatives to things like milk casein and egg whites. While we’ve been accustomed to this method with our reds for many years now, producing a quality and easy drinking white wine proved a little more challenging – but it was nothing our expert winemakers couldn’t handle.
Brokenwood winemaker Kate Sturgess led the charge in bringing the wild child of Brokenwood to life, and it’s proved to be a fabulously rewarding experience: ‘I’m really excited about Twenty70,’ she says, looking ahead to the new 2023 releases currently in the making. ‘It’s a chance to have a bit of a play away from the traditional Brokenwood winemaking style and experiment and have fun with making some yummy wines.’
A perfect pairing with their vegan friendly production methods, our red and white blends are bursting with delicious summery flavours that make them the perfect drinking choice for the eco-conscious wine lover.
|Wine||Blends||Tasting Notes||Food Pairings|
|Twenty70 Vegan Red Wine||Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc.||The Shiraz imparts a pleasant smoothness, and the addition of minimal sulphur allows for a more approachable and enjoyable drinking experience.||Pair with your favourite puttanesca or spaghetti bolognaise.|
|Twenty70 Vegan White Wine||Verdelho, Semillon and Chardonnay.||The palate is driven by invigorating, vibrant phenolics that bring a captivating dimension to the delicate lime cordial fruit flavours.||Perfect with fresh fish and chips straight from the butcher's paper, or with your favourite cheese board selection.|
These vegan wines are a true expression of Brokenwood's commitment to producing high quality, eco-friendly wines that align with our values and overarching mission towards more sustainable winemaking practices.
Looking ahead, Lorrae and Kate are excited to launch the second ever Twenty70 vintage in mid-2023.
‘This is our first official year of making Twenty70 with sustainably certified vineyard fruit,’ says Lorrae. ‘Brokenwood is now a Sustainable Winegrowing Australia Certified Winery, which we’re very proud of.’
This is the first year Brokenwood is eligible to use the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia Trustmark on our wine bottles, something that signifies both an exciting achievement of what’s been done and a promise for what we plan to continue.
The new Twenty70 release will also feature sustainable packaging like lightweight glass and even more recycled materials. We can’t give away too much information on the wines themselves, but Kate assures us they’re going to be nothing short of delicious. And with her expert touch and flair for creativity, how could they not be?
Stay up to date on the 2023 Twenty70 vintage by signing up to our mailing list.
It's no secret that vegan wine is a growing trend in the wine industry. We're proud to produce vegan friendly wines, including our entire range of reds and our new Twenty70 vintages, as key players in our commitment to sustainability in the Hunter Valley.
You can read more about our ever-growing sustainability initiatives here.
If you're looking for a delicious and ethically conscious wine, wine that celebrates the true flavours of our award-winning vineyard fruit, head to our online store for all the best vegan wine Australia has to offer.
Cheers to championing sustainability and enjoying a premium glass of wine guilt-free!