Frank Meaker, cellar master at Org de Rac Wines (supplied)
  • Ord de Rac in the Swartland, which first made a name for itself as an organic farm, is one of the country's few vegan wineries. 
  • Vegan wines do not use the egg whites and certain fish products which were used to fine wines.
  • The South African Vegan Society estimates that the number of vegans in the country doubles every two years. 

Org de Rac in the Swartland of the Western Cape, made a name for itself as one of South Africa’ few organic wine farms in the early 2000s. Now it is going vegan, to satisfy “enormous demand”.

Vegan wines opens the cellar to a growing generation of consumers who avoid animal products completely, says Frank Meaker, cellar master at Org de Rac,

“Having kept a keen eye on the local and international wine market, there can be no doubting the enormous rise in veganism as a way of life, especially among the so-called millennial crowd,” Meaker told Business Insider South Africa. 

Read: These are officially the 15 best wine labels in South Africa – featuring rabbits, a flying pig, and women on fish

“Being a red-blooded South African who enjoys my braai and a platter of cheese, I never thought the day would come when I would be admitting that veganism is becoming a general trend among consumers.” 

The grounds of Org de Rac in the Swartland (supplied)

Vegan wines do not use the egg whites and certain fish products which were used to fine wines. 

Fining agents are used to reduce astringency and bitterness. They also remove some of the proteins that could make wine go hazy, and help adjust the colour of the wine.

Org de Rac now employs non-animal agents such as clay-based bentonite to achieve the same effect.

The South African Vegan Society estimates that the number of vegans in the country doubles every two years.

“Being a producer of vegan wines comes at the right time for us as there is growing generation of everyday consumers avoiding animal products totally,” Meaker says. 

(supplied, Org de Rac wine farm)

Britain, one of South Africa’s major export partners, saw a 185% increase in vegan products launched in the UK between 2012 and 2016, and China predicts a 17% growth between 2015 and 2020.

In Hong Kong alone, 22% of the population self-identifies as practising some form of a plant-based diet

READ: These are the 5 most expensive South African wines you can buy right now – if you are willing to spend up to R5,000 per bottle

Mattias Kristianson, founder and editor chief of Sweden's first full vegan food magazine VEGO, says veganism has seen a global explosion in recent years. 

"In a few years, it went from being a fad diet to becoming a viable variation in everyday cooking," Kristianson says. 

"Today, vegetarian and veganism is nothing you are questioning or despise, at least not at the level it was a few years ago, it’s something that people are actually proud of."

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