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This year the GGA is pushing boundaries further than ever before to deliver an even more eco-friendly Global Good Awards ceremony. From the dress-code to the venue, from the vegan menu to carbon-balancing delegate travel, we are working to improve our impacts; and aiming to be the change that we want to see in the world.
This year, as part of that aim, and to compliment our bespoke vegan menu, we will also be serving our attendees with vegan wines.
No doubt we’re all aware that vegan wines are ‘a thing’, but – as a quick poll of GGA contacts confirms – few of us could tell you what it is, in winemaking, that makes some wines unsuitable for vegan diets… So we decided to find out.
On top of that fact finding, our dear friends and fellow global good doers, pebble magazine, have been kind enough to let us share their “8 expert tips for choosing natural wine”.
What makes a wine unsuitable for vegans?
Whilst few people would question putting grapes into the “not an animal product” category, some wine is not a vegan-friendly beverage.
The fining process
Where used, the fining process allows winemakers to remove unwanted compounds that affect the clarity and or taste of their wines. Unfortunately, the products used in fining create a moral hazard for vegans, and in some case vegetarians.
Traditional fining agents include casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). Though bull’s blood is also a traditional fining agent, its use was banned by the EU after the BSE crisis.
Fortunately for us vegans and vegetarians, there are fining agents available that are not made of animal proteins. For example bentonite, a clay that forms from weathered volcanic ash.
Also, modern pressing technology means that fewer unwanted materials get through in during the pressing process, and modern refrigeration helps to reduce sediment. Which means an increasing number of today’s’ winemakers forego the fining process completely. And the vegan wine market is ever expanding.
If you’re looking to try some vegan and veggie wines, you might want to check out veggiewines.co.uk, organic wine specialist Vintage Roots, or Artisan Wines – to name but a few. Better yet, enjoy a few VEGAN WINES when you attend the 2018 Global Good Awards!
Guest content, pebble magazine: “Life’s too short for bad plonk: 8 expert tips for choosing natural wine”
Is it just us, or do you pick wine by the label? We know that sometimes organic and biodynamic wine can feel like a bit of a gamble, so we’ve sought some expert help.
Master of Wine and RAW WINE Fair founder, Isabelle Legeron, is a global expert in raw, organic and natural wine. So who better to advise us on how to choose a decent organic or natural bottle?
Embrace the adventure
Be open-minded as you may discover flavours in natural wines you have never encountered before. This is all part of the beauty of these wines.
Want to know more about why you should be drinking natural wines? Click here.
Don’t go for style over substance
While funky labels are a good indicator of natural-ness (many natural wine producers are pretty anti-establishment), don’t forget that many of the most traditional, classic producers are natural too.
Take Château le Puy, an estate in Bordeaux, for example. They have been organic for some 400 years and boast a host of completely natural wines. Best of all their wines are delicious.
Shop in small, independent wine shops as they are the most likely to a) stock natural wines and b) know a lot about the wines they stock so they are best suited to give advice. Vintage Roots is a great example of a friendly, online organic and natural wine store.
Go for quality over quantity
Natural wines tend to be a little bit more expensive (although this is not necessarily the case) so we tend to drink a little less but better.
“Be open-minded as you may discover flavours in natural wines you have never encountered before“
Learn to love the cloud
Don’t let a small haze put you off, these wines are not fined or filtered and sometimes they can look a bit cloudy but think of it as wholesome wine.
(Want to know more about how natural wine is different and why this is important? Click here).
This also goes for a little sediment that can be found in bottles. In fact, you might even occasionally come across tartrate crystals that have precipitated and frankly they are delicious. They taste a bit like sherbert!
Taste heritage grapes
One of the most exciting things about natural producers is that they work really hard to preserve the rich viticultural heritage of indigenous grape varieties rather than plant standard international varieties (like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon) that the large market-driven powerhouses prefer to bet their bucks on.
This means that low-intervention organic, biodynamic and natural wines tend to offer more diversity of taste profiles and a unique chance to taste wines made from obscure grapes.
Check out Domaine Ligas’ Kydonitsa Barrique 2015, for example, which is made from a very rare (almost extinct) white grape variety which Jason Ligas, (a charming, dynamic twenty-something) has played a seminal role in reviving.
Or look out for the wild wines by Giorgi Natenadze who harvests most of his grapes from forest vines in the Caucasus, or from vines growing amongst the ruins of abandoned villages. Aged between 100 and 400 years old, these plants are more grape trees than vines, and of the 40 different varieties Giorgi has collected, nearly half have yet to be identified and/or named!
Explore other fruits
Don’t get hung up on the grape alone. With the advent of a greater appreciation of proper, live fermentations, many grower-makers have begun to experiment with other fruit (apple, pear, plums, etc) and this year we’ve even introduced a Cider Corner to RAW WINE London featuring fine drinks from the UK, France, Poland and Sweden.
Make up your own mind
Don’t worry about other people’s opinion about whether or not natural wine is worth it – make up your mind for yourself!
Thanks pebble! Read the article at the pebble magazine’s home, here>>
Join us at the 2018 GGA Ceremony: To celebrate excellence in social impact and sustainability (and sample our vegan wines!)
You don’t have to be an entrant to come along to the GGA ceremony! If you’re involved in social impact or sustainability, the GGA is the place to be! From our ‘eco-tie’ dress code, to our completely vegan menu, we aim to set the standard for sustainable events, and we want to share our learnings with you. Find out more about the 2018 ceremony, here>>