Wine is made from grapes, grapes are plants, plants are vegan, therefore wine is vegan – simple as that, right? Unfortunately not.
Early in the winemaking process, young wines are cloudy as they are full of unwanted substances. To be prepared for consumption, the liquid is filtered through ‘fining agents’ which remove proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics to make the wine bright and clear.
Though the process can be successfully completed using vegan fining agents, many winemakers use animal products such as blood and bone marrow, casein, chitin, egg albumen, fish oil, gelatin or isinglass.
So while wine should never actually contain animal products once it is on the shelves – the liquid is simply passed through fining agents which act as magnets to attract the unwanted substance – many winemakers rely on the animal derivatives to make their wine, therefore their products are not considered vegan.
Is red wine vegan?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what variety of wine you’re after. Whether it’s red wine, white wine, rosé, prosecco or Champagne, all are often made using animal products as their fining agents.
Can vegans drink wine?
Thankfully, as the number of vegans skyrockets, plant-based fining agents are being more frequently used by wine companies.
Vegan alternatives to the plant-based substances include carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel and vegetable plaques. In addition, wine naturally ‘fines’ itself and becomes clearer over time and some winemakers simply allow nature to take its course. These wines are usually labelled as ‘not fined/not filtered/unfiltered’, and are therefore usually vegan.
Some wines include an ingredients list on the bottle, but this is not compulsory in many countries, including the UK, EU and US.
Many vegan wines will display a vegan certified logo, meaning the product has been vetted to ensure no animal products are used.
Vegans should also be careful that their chosen wine does not use beeswax to seal bottles, or agglomerated corks which contain milk-based glues. Any vegan certified wines will have been tested to ensure these have not been used.
Vegan wine guide
Some vegan wines have not been officially certified as vegan, but they may still not use any animal products. An alternative is looking up a specific brand and bottle online to check its ingredients.
For vegans who are out-and-about and wondering if a bottle is vegan or not, barnivore.com/wine has a pretty comprehensive list of common wines, explaining whether or not they use animal products.
Many supermarket own-brand wines in the UK are now vegan and feature the vegan certification logo, while some websites can be filtered to only include vegan wines.
Original source: www.totallyveganbuzz.com