Flagstone Wines: A paradigm shift 

by | Nov 2, 2020 | Article

Flagstone Wines has launched its range of vegan-friendly wines, as well as a special edition wine to commemorate its 21st birthday.

Since 2019, Flagstone Wines has embraced a vegan-centred approach by removing animal-based fining agents from four varietals: the Free Run Sauvignon Blanc 2019, the Tributary Chenin Blanc 2019, the Treaty Tree Cab Malbec Merlot 2018, the Truth Tree Pinotage 2019, and the Free Run Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019.

“At Flagstone we visit different regions and vineyards to make distinctive wines,” says winemaker Gerhard Swart. Flagstone works closely with the South African Vegan Society to make sure all the wines from the 2019 vintage are vegan certified.

Gerhard says all the wines from their 2019 vintage are vegan certified, and they’ll continue this trend in the future. “I was a bit sceptical. After all, I am fanatic about my wines because I want to make sure the quality remains consistent.”

Gerhard belongs to a global community of winemakers focussing on sustainable winemaking practices. “At Flagstone, we look at various sustainable aspects like writing up the daily water usage, tracking electricity and measuring temperature. There’s a lot of work done behind the scenes.”

He says there is a trend towards healthier alternatives when it comes to wine. “More and more people are conscious about the environment, and consumers are eager to learn more about vegan wines. We’ve identified an opportunity in the market, especially in the United Kingdom.”

Paradigm unveiled

Additionally, Gerhard and his team unveiled a new vegan-friendly wine, the Paradigm Chenin Blanc 2020 – commemorating the winery’s 21 years of existence.

Every year, Gerhard looks for something new and exciting. He is fond of the Agter-Paarl region for Chenin Blanc – specifically old bush vine Chenin. “It’s amazing to witness these old vineyards unfold, and you cannot believe that these vineyards actually grow grapes.”

He says most of the vineyards are around 32 to 38 years old. “I stumbled across a vineyard planted in 1979, which makes it 41 years old. Our 2020 vintage is the first vintage we made from this old bush vine.”

Focus on sustainability

According to James Reid, general manager of South African operations for Accolade Wines, if it hadn’t been for Covid-19 this year, there would have been a much stronger focus on sustainability, and reducing carbon footprint.

James, who also serves on the board for WoSA, says sustainability is the key focus of the organisation and for Cape Wine 2022.

He adds there’s a lot is going on to get South Africa geared up to be the world leaders of sustainability. “How do we make this a badge of honour that keeps us ahead of our competition?”

There’s a huge demand for organic wines from European consumers so Gerhard has been tasked to come up with more organic wines for Flagstone for vintage 2021, says James. “There aren’t too many vegan vineyards in South Africa. We have a great climate for organic wine. But as a collective industry, we need to see that expand in the future.”

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