Saturday, September 1, 2012

Vegan Wine: Stellar Organic Pinotage

Last night, I participated in Tranquil Space's "Blue Moon: Vin, Yin and Zin" workshop, a mix of vinyasa yoga, yin yoga and a sampling of various wines (that would be the "Zin" part of the equation).

Participants were encouraged to bring their own wine, so I stopped by the P Street Whole Foods to grab a bottle.  When I got to the wine section, I ran into Keith, who oversees the department and is extremely knowledgeable.  While we were talking, more than one shopper came up to him to thank him for his previous recommendations.

Keith asked what occasion I was getting the wine for, and I let him know about the event.  I mentioned that the workshop description mentioned organic wines, and said I was curious about trying one of those.  Not surprisingly, Whole Foods had about 30, if not more bottles to choose from.  Keith recommended a Pinotage from Stellar Organic Winery, a South African winery.  He said he liked the flavor, but that it was light enough to enjoy if it wasn't paired with a full meal.

In addition to the wine being made from organic grapes and being fair trade certified, it was also labeled as vegan.  Now, I had heard a little bit about vegan wine, but it honestly confused me a little.  After all, it's not like wine is made from chickens.  So, what exactly makes a wine vegan?  Well, apparently, some winemakers use animal products as part of the filtration/"fining" process.  The animal products are filtered out before the wine is bottled, so you aren't technically consuming an animal product when you imbibe.  However, there are a number of vegans out there that feel strongly about consuming any food product that involved an animal ingredient at some point (like the debate over sugar).

So, if you know someone who feels strongly about only consuming vegan wines, or if you know someone who appreciates fair trade products (I have a number of close friends who are actively involved in fair trade), this might be a nice gift or treat to bring to a dinner party.  I admit that I don't know much about wine, but I enjoyed this.  While I normally gravitate towards citrusy whites, this red was indeed light and had a bit of a peppery finish.

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