Is wine vegan friendly? But isn’t all wine vegan? This is a very popular question among vegans and so they set on the journey of discovering vegan wine. Naturally, one would expect that all wines are vegan friendly since they are made from yeast and grapes, both of which are vegan-friendly. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, and most of the wines available in the market are, in fact, not vegan-friendly.
Why isn’t wine vegan?
Just like nearly all manufactured foods, wine processing is a complex process. Many assume that it involves a simple fermentation process, while in actual fact, it is much more complex. As the juice ferments, grape residues usually settle at the bottom of the mixture, reducing the quality of the wine. For the sediment to clear, ample time is required, but let’s be honest, in a capitalist world, which commercial winery would be willing to wait for weeks to sell its wine?
This is where ‘fining catalysts’ come in. These are used to hasten the process of refining wine. Wineries do this using a variety of sticky animal ingredients that capture the sediments, making them easy to filter out. Some of these animal ingredients include casein, which is an animal milk protein, Isinglass from fish bladders, Albumin from egg whites, and Gelatin from boiled beef or pork. As you can see not all wine is vegan wine!
Though the fining process eventually involves the removal of all animal products along with the sediments, it’s still a no-go zone for most vegans. That said, the question of whether all wines are vegan wine can be answered with a simple no. Most of the wines are still a cause for concern for vegans. Fortunately, while the world is certainly imperfect, it’s not as bad as you may think since some purely vegan wines exist; you just need to spend some time discovering vegan wine.
Vegan fining alternative
So if traditional methods of fining involve animal products, what do vegan winemakers use as an alternative? Fortunately, there are a number of options for winemakers for the fining process, which are animal friendly. These include:
- Bentonite clay
- Kaolin clay
- Plant casein
- Silica gel
- Vegetable plaques
Can vegans drink wine?
Vegans, like everyone else, can indulge in wines and enjoy some good times. The majority of winemakers, however, omit their fining ingredients from their labels, meaning it is important for vegans to look up the status of the brand they are buying from to make sure the wine is actually vegan. They could also email the vineyard and enquire. Alternatively, they could opt for a trusted vegan-product retailer. It’s the surest way to make sure that all wine you are consuming is vegan certified.
When discovering vegan wine that is processed using vegan fining ingredients, or wine that skips this stage and settles over time, count on Vegan Cheeseboard to provide you with recommendations based not only on ensuring they are vegan, but also they are recommended based on the taste. Not only do we recommend vegan wine, but we add vegan cheese and vegan chocolate recommendations to spice up the mix. Vegan Cheeseboard is aimed at gourmet cheese, wine, and chocolate for people who choose a vegan lifestyle.
Which are some of the best vegan-friendly wines?
Some popular vegan brands are from Thomson and Scott Brut Prosecco, renowned for not only being 100% vegan-friendly but uses 100% organically certified grapes. Blossom Hill wines, particularly the Californian cabernet sauvignon and the Chenin blanc are also vegan friendly. Another popular brand is South African False Bay who has budget-friendly vegan options. Yet another is that of the United Kingdom’s own Three Mills named after the three old tower windmills that were once adjacent to their Norfolk winery. The list is endless, but these are quite popular in the vegan community.
Check out our recommended vegan options to have some exquisite wine and a lovely vegan cheese selection or chocolate for dessert! Most importantly make sure you enjoy the process of discovering vegan wine until you find the ones that best suit you.