Vegan Wine

December 2016

Many people assume that all wine is vegan or vegetarian. How can it not be?

It is unknown to many (because it does not have to be stated on the bottle) that towards the end of the wine making process the wine may have come in to contact with animal derived products. This is still quite common for many wines.

Why would the wine come in to contact with animal-derived products? 
A wine making process called fining is used by wine makers who want to clarify and stabilise the wines by adding so called fining agents to remove proteins, yeast, and other organic particles which are in suspension during the making of the wine. This is where the animal products may come in.

Historically blood powder was used as a fining agent, however these days other common fining agents are used, such as:
•    Isinglass (fish swim bladder)
•    Gelatin
•    Albumin (egg whites)
•    Casein (animal milk protein)

The reason why winemakers carry out fining on their wine is to improve appearance, quality and flavour. Given time gravity will have the same effect as fining. However, winemakers may specifically want to carry out fining on a wine that needs to be consumed young (not suitable for ageing) when time and flavour is of the essence. 

Nevertheless, more and more vegan or vegetarian wine is becoming available. If winemakers choose to carry out fining on their wine without animal derived products they may use:
•    Bentonite clay
•    Agar agar
•    Activated charcoal
•    Fining agents derived from potatoes and peas

Below we have listed producers we import from who produce vegan/vegetarian wines or take a look at our Vegan Wine Section in the Shop:

Frontos, Hoya del Navio, La Casa di Bricciano, Movia, Jakeli Wines, Le Fraghe (red wines).
 

Jan LindfeldtComment
Island to Island

December 2016

We have chosen two very special wines to profile this week, both come from Island regions many people would not associate with wine production; Tenerife and Lipari.

Hoya del Navio 2012

Finca la Hornaca is a small family run winery situated on the north-west coast of Tenerife. 
This area experiences mild winters and cool summers, with the average temperature 25°c. 

Practising ecological agriculture and using little technology in the continuing quest to obtain high quality products while still being respectful of the consumer and the environment.

The vineyard is only 2 hectares, planted with the traditional Canarian grape varieties Listàn Negro and Negramoll. 
The wine is made exclusively with the farms own grapes. Production is only 2,500 bottles per year.

The work in the vineyard is based on prevention, nutrition and restoration of soil life in order to achieve more rustic and hardy plants with healthy fruit.

 

Malvasia delle Lipari

Tenuta di Castellaro is located on the beautiful island of Lipari. Lipari is part of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Sicily. It’s a special place. “Organic wines produced with the utmost respect for nature and tradition”.

The viticulture at Tenuta di Castellaro is artisan and involves no use of synthetic chemicals. Their wines are ecological gems. They are organically certified. 

The soil is sandy, volcanic, deep, fertile and rich in trace elements enabling the creation of outstanding wines with real reflection of their terroir. 

The Malvasia delle Lipari is produced from vineyards located on steep terraces directly overlooking the sea. This wine has earned the name “Nectar of the Gods”.

Jan LindfeldtComment
Super Tuscan

November 2016

The origin of the Super Tuscan comes from very restrictive DOC practices in the Chianti region prior to the 1990’s. During this time Chianti could only be composed of no more than 70% Sangiovese and had to include at least 10% of the local white grapes.

Producers in the area who deviated from these regulations could not use the Chianti name on their wines and would be classified as Vino da Tavola – Italy’s lowest wine designation.

But by the 1970’s the consumer market for Chianti Wines was suffering and the wines were widely perceived to be lacking in quality. So, many Tuscan wine producers thought they could produce a better wine if they were not hindered by the DOC regulations. 

Jan LindfeldtComment
Interview with Rory of La Casa di Bricciano, Chianti Classico, Tuscany

October 2016

La Casa di Bricciano is a small organic winery in the heart of Chianti Classico. The yearly production is only 12,000 bottles. Text by Åsa Johansson

Rory, the middle son of the family has been in charge of the production since the beginning of summer 2016. We had the chance to talk to him about his work while tasting the wines he and his family produce - and of course enjoying the beautiful view over the stunning Tuscan countryside. 

Rory, you are only 22 years old, why are you in charge of the winery?
Since I was a child, I enjoyed staying beside my father while he worked in the vineyards and in the cellar. I always felt very passionate about our family’s work and as soon as I finished high school I joined my father and started to work with him. Sadly, he passed away earlier this year, in June, and I had to take over. I am very young but I hope, and believe, that I can continue my father’s work.

What is the biggest challenge for you at this moment?
It is to continue working with the same passion and strength my father had and to show all over the world this beautiful job that comes from the love of this amazing land. And the paper work. I have never been good with bureaucracy. 

What is special about your vineyards close to the village Gaiole in Chianti?
Our vineyards are 560 meters above sea level. In the past that was “too high”, but the climate is changing and today with the higher temperatures, being on top of the hill is positive. Our grapes reach a perfect maturation even a very hot vintage.

You prune some of your vineyards as bush wines, why?
My father was born and lived in South Africa for thirty years. He brought his knowledge to Tuscany. For example, he started to work organically and not only he had planted Sangiovese but Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Ancellotta, non-autochthonous Tuscan varieties. For sure, many thought he was crazy in the beginning of the nineties! He also planted the highest part of the vineyards as bush vines. There are strong winds on the top of the hill and letting the vines grow close to the ground, they are more resistant. Second, he wanted to keep the vines low to be able to land with his air-plane without destroying the vines.

Air-plane? 
Yes, he was a passionate flyer, something he passed on to my brother and me. We both have a flying certificate. My father never realized his dream of landing in our vineyards with his plane. We will try to fulfill that dream too!     

Jan LindfeldtComment
“What do you mean by ‘Ecological’?!”

October 2016

We are often asked this question. For Meadowdale Wines the word ‘Ecological’ encompasses all of our values. Good wine is not only about taste; it is a lifestyle choice reflecting these principles.

We only import wines which are grown and made using organic principles. This means using zero synthetic pesticides or herbicides during any part of the grape growing and winemaking processes. 
We do not believe a vineyard must be certified to be classed as organic in our eyes. Actions speak louder than a small piece of paper.

Some sulphites naturally occur, especially in foods such as raw grapes. Sulphites in conventional wines are added in vast quantities as a preservative. 
In some people this can cause migraines, sneezing, rashes, asthma, swelling of the throat and other severe allergic reactions. 

We value great wines which don’t need to be pumped full with preservatives and other additives. With minimal use of sulphites, the true taste of the grape and the place it comes from can shine through.

To produce great wine is not an easy task, to make large volumes of cheap wine you must use chemicals, large machinery, masses of water and undesirable grapes. To make a fine wine takes time and care to let nature take its course. Most of our wines are still hand harvested which means no damage is done to the vines by mechanical harvesters thus building the plants strength year on year.

Jakeli.jpg

Finally, we come to the more eccentric side of ‘Ecological’ where by two of our wine producers practice bio-dynamic agriculture. Bio-dynamic farmers strive to create a diversified and balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonise the life forces of the farm, farmers work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the cosmos on the soil and plants such as the phases of the moon and positioning of the planets. 
 

Organic, low sulphite, minimal intervention, bio-dynamic; this is what Meadowdale Wines believes in and what guides us.

Jan LindfeldtComment
What's in your Wine Glass?

August 2016

What makes you choose one wine over another? 

The grape variety, the region, the type, familiarity and most likely the taste, right?! Do you ever choose a wine based on its background, of how it is made and what might be in it? 
Still considering the taste to be the priority. Here is a brief breakdown comparison of what you might find in conventionally made wines and wines made ecologically. 

Conventional:
High sulphite levels, Synthetic chemicals, Preservatives, Mass production, Good and BAD grapes used, Automation of industry, Commercial yeast used, Non-environmentally friendly,
Non organic produce, Continuous intervention.

Ecological:
Low sulphite levels, Natural pest control, Natural preservation, Small production, Selective harvest/pruning, Local employment, Non-commercial/Indigenous yeast used, Environmentally friendly, Organic produce, Minimal intervention.

Ecological wine making produces wine as true to the grape, the people and the place as possible, with delicious vibrant flavours.

#trust your taste #ecological #organic

Jan LindfeldtComment
An Interview with Matilde Poggi of Le Fraghe, Veneto, Italy

August 2016

Matilde Poggi is the woman behind the winery Le Fraghe on the right river of the Garda Lake in the region of Veneto, Italy. She is the mother of three children and the president of FIVI, the Federation of Independent Winegrowers in Italy. She was also one of the first Italian wine producers to use a screw cap. In other words, a strong woman with a sensitive character. Text by Åsa Johansson
 

What made you take over the family farm and dedicate yourself to wine production? 
My father was just giving the farm´s grapes to his brother. I wanted to challenge myself by starting to take care of the wine production and making my own wine with my own label. 
You produced your first vintage in 1984, what is the most important lesson about wine production that you learnt with time? 
First of all that wine is a very slow business. Every year is different with a different climate and that means different grapes.  My 31 harvests has brought me to understand that you need a lot of patience to make your own experience. I also learnt that my favourite grape, Corvina, is very delicate to work with.


Which part of your work do you enjoy most?  
Without any doubts the wine making process. 


Which are the biggest challenges for a producer in Bardolino? 
To let people know that although Bardolino is a young, fresh and an easy to drink wine it is still an important wine. Being an easy wine does not mean being a stupid wine. 


You are also the president of the organisation of FIVI (The Federation of Independent Winegrowers in Italy): what is the most important goal you want to achieve right now?  
Since the very early beginning, we are fighting against bureaucracy, which takes the same amount of hours in a very small winery as in a big one. This is not correct, we want to spend our time in the vineyards and in the cellar and not in our offices to fill out papers.


You were one of the first producers in Italy to start experimenting with screw caps. How were the reactions in the beginning?
In the beginning it was not easy. At the start in 2008, using screw caps meant that Italian restaurants were not so familiar with them and reacted negatively. Today I bottle the whole production of the white wine Garganega Camporengo and the Chiaretto with only screw cap. Bottling the whole production with screw cap made things easier as people did not have any choice to get the wine with another closure. 


What would you like your customers to feel when they drink your wine?  
I would like them to feel what I am looking for when I make the wine: a wine that is very easy to drink and very much connected to the area where it comes from. 

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Jan LindfeldtComment
What is sulphite allergy?
Screenshot 2015-01-30 18.48.59.png

I just came across a fantastically interesting book: Food Hypersensitivity by Isabel Skypala and Carina Venter.

Did you know that sulphite (metabisulphite) sensitive people can possibly get a reaction just by inhaling sulphur dioxide generated during swallowing? That might mean that even TASTING high sulphite wines (or other beverages) could trigger a reaction like rash or wheezing!