Plant-based cheese pioneer Miyoko Schinner is reinventing the wine and food experience in Northern California. The founder and CEO of vegan cheese company Miyoko’s Creamery is launching the campaign 'Wine Country 2.0' in an effort to incorporate a vegan perspective of the entire wine experience. The entrepreneur aims to promote sustainability, animal welfare, and health with her new take on the wine countryside. The campaign will gather local restauranteurs, hoteliers, organizations, wineries, and artisan food developers to redesign the wine country experience.

“Wine Country 2.0 is an entirely new way to enjoy the world’s greatest wine region and leading tourist destination. We will expose visitors and locals alike to phenomenal experiences which demonstrate that caring for the planet and animals while delivering the world’s finest food and wine pairings are not mutually exclusive,” Schinner said. “This convivial, climate-forward collaboration celebrates the diverse, local tastemakers and change-makers who are leading the way in creating a more sustainable and compassionate hospitality experience that will create a blueprint for the culinary industry across the country.

Schinner’s Wine Country 2.0 will facilitate a classic wine and food experience without any animal products. The motivation stems from Schinner’s understanding of the changing consumer interest regarding plant-based eating. The company reported that the number of vegans across the United States increased by 600 percent over the last three years. Schinner explained that “That means we are leaving a lot of people out of the wine country experience and losing opportunities to attract and connect with these folks.”

The vegan cheese developer has already assembled dozens of members to support the Wine Country 2.0 campaign. Schinner hopes to motivate companies across the industry to consider the value of plant-based arrangements. The dairy industry is so closely linked to the California wine industry, making this an important marketplace to tackle.

Schinner’s campaign has already enlisted wineries including Cline Cellars, Blue Farm, and Clif Family Winery, businesses such as Bohemian Highway, Renegade Foods, Green String Farm, El Dorado Hotel & Kitchen, and La Belle Vie Tours, and some organizations including Charlie’s Acres, Jameson Humane, Out in the Vineyard, and Miyoko’s own farm sanctuary Rancho Compasión.

Wine Country 2.0 will also host an awards ceremony in November that will celebrate the organizations, wineries, and businesses that have worked the hardest to incorporate sustainability into their business models. Following its inaugural year, Schinner hopes that Wine Country 2.0 will organize a vegan food and wine festival by Spring 2022.

“Ultimately, the goal is to shift the paradigm of wine country here and beyond, and to create a model for the hospitality industry worldwide that will serve as a roadmap for sustainability by incorporating a vegan approach to food and wine,” Schinner continued. “As leaders in the industry, we want to use that sphere of influence to become a trusted resource for locals, visitors, chefs, and inspire change-maker chefs and winemakers across the world to establish the new and improved wine country experience, for the businesses, the people, and the animals.”

Since 2014, Schinner has led the plant-based dairy industry. Following her career as a vegan chef and cookbook author, Schinner decided to open her vegan dairy company Miyoko’s Creamery. Now, the company has expanded into a 30,000-square-foot facility in Petaluma, CA, and distributes its products at nearly 30,000 stores across North America and Australia.

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