It happened one Friday night when my friend declined her drink, saying that it wasn’t vegan-friendly. But wait a second…isn’t all wine vegan? From my limited knowledge on wines, I had assumed that its grape base solidified it as a vegan drink. However, I was obviously way off the mark. Although a wine’s main ingredient is fermented grapes (or other fruit, if it’s not a grape wine), the production of wine involves the addition of a fining agent. As you can guess, this fining agent is made from animal products. The most frequently used fining agents are casein (a milk protein) or isinglass (gelatine derived from fish), as well as a host of other animal products such as chitin, egg albumen and even blood and bone marrow.
Image: The Kitchn
Now before you get put off wine forever, let me explain why fining agents are commonly used in its production. One of the main reasons is to retain its clarity and colour. Overtime, sediment may fall into the wine and without fining agents, the wine will become muddy with suspended solids. These fining agents can also reduce any astringency and bitterness, creating a flavour that is pleasant to the palate. It works by creating a bond between the agents and the suspended particles in the wine, producing larger particles which are then easily precipitated out of the wine.
So, the question remains for all wine lovers out there; do you have to give up wine drinking to pursue your vegan journey? Not necessarily. Nowadays, other alternatives such as bentonite and carbon are being used. Since veganism has gained more traction, various non-animal-based agents such as vegetable gelatine and protein from peas and potatoes have been created as well.
And voilà! The vegan wine is born, and we need to look no further from our WA home to find the perfect source: Happs Wines.
The family run winery is nestled in the beautiful Margaret River region and produces more than thirty grape varieties to date. They cater for every palate imaginable, with its uniqueness coming from the family’s artistic flair. Each bottle is artfully designed to fit different personalities and tastes, and their ongoing patronage of the arts only adds to this creativity. Not only a vineyard, the Happs estate is a hub for artists, jewellers, potters, sculptors and musicians alike, all who have gathered at the onsite gallery to showcase their talent.
The wines are an embodiment of the imaginative yet down-to-earth couple behind Happs. Erl and Ros were inspired to plant in Margaret River following Professor John Gladstone’s prediction of the region becoming much like the world class wine region of Bordeaux. Since then, they haven’t looked back, and have embraced their natural calling to create great wine. They go by the motto, “Great wines are made in the vineyard”, and their entire range is produced by the fruit grown from their own estate. Their two vineyard locations allow for a diversity in soil type and climate, creating subtle nuances between their wines. Happs focus not only on great quality, but on the cultivation of a more organic harvest by implementing an environmentally sustainable management regime and avoiding the use of herbicides. This practice allows for soil microorganisms to thrive, resulting in little to no addition of sulphite in the wine-making process. Essentially, they are able to create preservative free wines!
Their wines can be divided into three distinct ranges, all recognised and exported globally:
- The Happs Estate Range: evolved over thirty-five years to represent the layered landscape of the Northern Capes region.
- The Three Hills Collection: embodies the cool climate and elegance of the Karridale vineyard. Only the very best fruit are selected, from the very best sections of the vineyard.
- The Indigenous Series “iSeries”: an expression of the ancient land from which they are created, embodying a unique sense of place.
Below is a list of the vegan and preservative free wines from their range. Their vegan wines are fined with a pea protein, ensuring that no animal products are used in its production. Preservative free wines are amazing for those prone to allergies and are completely free of all processing aids, including sulphites. Happs even boast of creating wine with the lowest content of preservatives, and it is no wonder that they are as well-loved as they are.
Vegan and Preservative Free:
Happs PF Red
Happs PF White
Three Hills Reds
Three Hills Whites
Image: Your Margaret River Region
So what are you waiting for? Find out more about this amazing wine at https://happs.com.au/. Don’t be afraid to grab yourself a few bottles, or even better, head down to their winery just 2.5 hours’ drive from Perth city.
Thanks to Happs Wines, we can now all enjoy our glass, guilt free!
Written by: Tiffany Ko