Vegan wine produced in the Swartland

( from, July 12 2018)

The wine industry can expect the demand for wines free from animal-based products to increase as veganism becomes one of the fastest-growing consumer trends globally.

Org de Rac, the organic wine farm in the Swartland, has eschewed all animal products such as certain fining agents that have been part of the traditional wine-making process, and along with its organic status is experiencing an increase in demand due to its vegan-friendly wines.

“From the outset Org de Rac followed an organic wine strategy as it suits modern consumers and organic farming delivers the best quality wines, to our mind. But 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 which is an important part of the wine industry’s consumer base,” says Frank Meaker, cellar master at Org de Rac.

Traditionally, egg white and certain fish products were used in fine wines – getting rid of the cloudiness to leave a clear, polished drink.

“At Org de Rac we don’t use any of these, employing the non-animal agents that are available, such as clay-based bentonite,” says Meaker. “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.”


There’s been a 600% increase in people identifying themselves as vegans in the US over the last three years. According to a report by research firm GlobalData, only 1% of US consumers claimed to be vegan in 2014. In 2017 that number rose to 6%.
In the UK the number vegans increased by 350% compared to a decade ago, according to research commissioned by the Vegan Society in partnership with Vegan Life magazine. Over 600 000 British people regard themselves as vegan, and the increase shows no signs of abating.

Even China is going vegan: research predicts that China’s vegan market will grow more than 17% between 2015 and 2020. And in Hong Kong, 22% of the population reports practicing some form of a plant-based diet.

Meaker says this global increase in veganism is affecting producers of food and beverages, and wine cannot be excluded as the trend rises.
Britain saw a 185% increase in vegan products launched in the UK between 2012 and 2016, and in America producers of dairy products are switching to soya and nut alternatives to meet demand. In South Africa the SA Vegan Society reports of the number of vegans doubling every two years.

“Wine hasn’t generally been identified as a non-vegan product due to the labelling laws and because people associate it with grapes,” says Meaker.

More producers will be taking steps to ensure their wine is vegan-friendly, however, and those that already have are finding traction in the market place. Ignore the reality of veganism at your peril.”

Org de Rac takes to the skies with Rwandair 

Rwandair recently introduced a direct flight between Kigali and Cape Town. Orge de rac was selected as the preferred wine on board. this article recently appeared in

Die Waghuis is 'the best of the best' according to Die Burger, 11 April 2018

Org de Rac Achieves Normal High Score in Alternative Grape Variety Report

The inaugural Winemag Competition for Alternative Grape Varieties saw Swartland organic producer Org de Rac score 92 points for its Roussanne 2017. This competition, which aims to rate the standard of South African wines made from alternative grape varieties as well as to promote an awareness of these wines, saw 97 wines being entered with Org de Rac achieving the second highest score in the White Wine category.

“Roussanne is a wonderful white variety made famous by the great wines of the Rhône region in France,” says Org de Rac cellarmaster Frank Meaker who pioneered the planting of this cultivar on Org de Rac.

“The rocky soils and sunny, dry climate of Piketberg, where Org de Rac is situated, is ideal for this grape especially as you have a westerly breeze from the Atlantic fanning the vineyards. This is the kind of region that makes a winemakers hands itch with excitement as I believe it to be conducive to a multitude of grape varieties – from the traditional plantings of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot we have, to newbies such as Verdelho and Roussanne.”

Org de Rac has one hectare planted to Roussanne on a cooler south-facing slope with east to west row direction. The soils are of terra-rossa formation with a high percentage of shale, providing a well-drained, cool root environment.

“Roussanne is generally a mid-season ripening variety,” says Meaker, “and at Org de Rac we do two harvests. The early harvest contributes to the fruity, light and easy-drinking Le Piquet Blanc. The remaining grapes are left on the vine to gain more concentration before being harvested for this 100% Roussanne. The result is a wine with fresh mineral and citrus characters as well as a seductive floral depth.”

The grapes for the Roussanne 2017 were harvested at 22.8° Brix with a total acidity of 6.2 g/l. They were crushed, chilled down to 15° C and left overnight on skin contact in rototanks. The juice was settled, racked and fermented dry before undergoing malolactic fermentation. A small portion was left on wood staves for added complexity.

“Winemag’s initiative in presenting this competition should be welcomed,” says Meaker. “South Africa makes wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, but we can do so much more in this country with other varieties. Not only by expanding our national portfolio of diversity and quality, but offering consumers a broader spread of wines to choose from.” 

Org de Rac shines at the awards

Org de Rac recently won a string of awards for its quality wines:

Die Waghuis White 2016:
Platter Guide 4 Stars                  
Tim Atkins 91 Points
Michelangelo Gold

Die Waghuis Red 2014: 
Platter Guide 4.5 Stars
Tim Atkins 89 Points 

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015:
Platter Guide 4.5 Stars
Michelangelo Gold

Reserve Shiraz 2015: 
Platter Guide 4 Stars 

Reserve Chardonnay 2015:
Platter Guide 4 Stars 

La Verne MCC 2014:
Platter Guide 4 Stars 

Lightly Wooded Chardonnay 2017: 
Platter Guide 3.5 Stars 

ODR Merlot 2015:
Merlot Forum 92 Points
Michelangelo Gold

Platter Guide 4 Stars