As veganism continues to evolve in America, one aspect that perhaps still remains unknown to most of us is the wine industry. Most people know and relate quiet easily with meat issues, or organic plants, yet few actually think about wines. Well, today we are presenting you a company that specializes in nothing but wines. Not just any regular type wines. On the contrary, is an online wine club that deals EXCLUSIVELY with vegan wine.
Veganwines.com is an online wine club that only ships 100% vegan wines to their customers. As their website indicates “Vegan Wines is not just for vegans. It is for all people that want organic, no pesticides, bio-dynamic, family vineyard wines, good wine”. Basically they make sure the companies they ship from are indeed following the vegan tradition.
A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to connect with vegan wines founder, Frances Gonzalez from Santa Rosa, California. Frances answered key questions we had in regards to this winery club:
HOW DID ALL BEGAN?
Just as I’ve gradually become a vegan over the course of my life, I’ve also become a wine lover. I slowly developed a palette, visited wineries, researched, and participated in wine tastings. And then I discovered that all wine isn’t necessarily vegan.
While traveling in France, I learned that the winemaking process frequently involves egg whites or other animal products used to clarify the wine. This, of course, makes the final product unsuitable for vegans. After that I kept looking into the issue and realized that many people around the world, including many vegans, were probably unaware of this fact.
Wine has become one of my passions, just like veganism. I love how it looks, how it smells, and the conversations it provokes between friends at the dinner table. But I actually used to be more of a spirit drinker.
Though I’ve been evolving as a vegan for the past 20 years, it was only in the past few years that I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy. I know I could potentially drink a few gluten-free spirits, however, most cocktails that I liked were off limits. So I began drinking wine.
Once I learned that all wine wasn’t necessarily vegan, dining out became a little more complicated. Typically, I can go to a vegan or even a non-vegan restaurant and have no problem ordering a suitable meal. But it’s not the same with wine.
DO THE PUBLIC KNOWS WHERE THEIR WINE IS COMING FROM?
Most restaurants I’ve visited have no idea if their wines are vegan. Most don’t even know if their wines are organic. When I explain that I’d like to know about whether any animal products were used in the making of their wines, servers and managers are usually baffled. And while this was frustrating at first, it made me realize that this is a new subject for many people, even those in the restaurant industry.
Barnivore is a great website that I use to determine which wines are vegan. I love it, but it’s not always practical because you have to hope their database lists a wine that happens to be on the restaurant’s wine list where you’re dining.
On my journey to becoming 100% vegan, I’ve learned how companies put so many things into our foods that we don’t even realize contain animal products. And the same is true for winemaking. However, when you visit a winery or attend a tasting, you won’t hear anything about it. They’ll tell you all about the type of grapes they use, whether it’s steel or oak aged, and the history of the vineyard.
- But they’ll rarely mention how they filtered the wine.
- Did they use animal products to refine or clarify it?
- Did they use any to fertilize the soil for the vines?
You’ll have to ask, and even then you might not get a straight answer. So it’s not surprising that there are a lot of vegans out there who have no idea that animal products are often used in the winemaking process. My goal is to spread awareness by promoting vegan-friendly wines.
WHAT WAS THE REASON WHY YOU GOT INTO THIS BUSINESS?
So, that’s why I created Vegan Wines. I strongly believe in veganism – it’s my life and my lifestyle. As a movement, veganism is taking off throughout the U.S. and the world. And vegans as well as non-vegans love good wine.
My fiancé and I began by searching for the domain name – veganwines.com – and when we found it, we went ahead and purchased it for a few thousand dollars. That initial investment is how my idea became a reality. Since the idea of marketing vegan wines is such a relatively new concept, I decided to begin my venture as fast and with as much energy as possible!
VeganWines.com is an online wine club that will sell vegan-friendly wines to customers. But there’s much more I hope can grow from that. In time, I want to become the name, the brand, and even the logo that people can trust when choosing wines.
The Vegan Wines logo – the cow drinking wine – stands for the fact that I, Frances Gonzalez, visited that particular winemaker to study and taste the wine, to learn its history, and to discuss the winemaking process with the owners. I’ll personally make sure that the wines I sell through my wine club are 100% vegan. I want restaurants to be stamping their wine lists with my logo so that vegans can know with full confidence that their glass of wine is perfectly in line with their diet, values, and lifestyle.
I’m now a full-fledged wine lover. I love tasting wine, of course, but I also love learning how each vineyard’s process is different. I enjoy hearing how that winery came into existence. I love talking to owners and hearing their stories. And I’ve always loved to travel, so visiting different vineyards – both in the U.S. and abroad – is another one of my favorite parts of the job. Traveling on behalf of Vegan Wines also allows me to learn so much about cultures within the winemaking industry.
DON’T YOU THINK YOU ARE LIMITED BY THE VEGAN NAME?
Our wine club isn’t just for vegans though. Vegan Wines will appeal to anyone who cares about what they put into their body and where their wine comes from. It’s for those who want to drink quality, great-tasting wines made by environmentally conscious wineries. We’ll only carry wines created with natural, plant-based ingredients, rather than those produced using shortcuts like animal byproducts.
I’m aware that some people consider the whole vegan movement to be a fad, but I’m all for this fad. If that’s how more people discover the truth behind what actually makes up their foods, then wonderful! Knowledge and transparency has the potential to change their lives forever, just like it did mine, in an extremely healthy and positive way.