As vegans, we want to make sure everything we’re consuming is completely natural, cruelty-free, and environmentally friendly. Sometimes we make assumptions about these things when we shouldn’t, and we end up consuming items that we’d be shocked to learn are terrible for us, animals, or the environment we live in. Instead of making assumptions, we’d like to do our best to research and educate on products that aren’t actually vegan, even though many think they are. Wine is one of these products. That’s right, as much as it might pain you to hear, most wine isn’t actually vegan. Here’s why.
How Most Wine Isn’t Vegan
As we all know, wine is fermented grape juice, where yeast converts the juice sugars into alcohol. It’s not this baseline process that poses a problem, it’s the clarifying process that comes next. Most people like their wines clear, not hazy, and for that reason most wine-makers use a variety of fining agents and aids to help clear up this haze, which is essentially harmless, natural proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics.
The fining agents used to clear up the haze act as magnets, attracting the molecules to form bigger particles, which are then removed. Viola! No more haze. So, what’s the problem? Fining agents that see the most action are made from casein (milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). As you well know .¨ none of these are okay for the vegan.
Can Vegans Not Drink Wine, Then?
Let’s not go too, too far. Vegans simply need to find wine’s that have been clarified with clay-based fining agents, like bentonite, or activated charcoal. Also, you may have noticed an uptick in the amount of “all natural” items lining grocery shelves, and thankfully this trend has extended to winemaking as well. This means that farmers and wine producers are beginning to allow their wines to clarify over time, naturally, without any fining agents. For that route in particular, most wine labels will indicate, “Not fined/or
Where You Can Find Vegan Wine
It’s tough to just walk into any old grocery store and find a vegan wine, at least one that’s clearly labeled to show what you’re looking for. If you’re in a major city, you can likely track down a specialty wine show that should give you a few options. Otherwise? Your best bet is shopping online. The following are a handful of options for you: Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, China Bend Winery, Fitzpatrick Winery, Frey Winery, Organic Biodynamic Vegan Wine, Organic Vintners, Organic Wine Company, Palmina Wines, and Seghesio Family Vineyards.
You’re pretty surprised, right? But better to know than to not know! If you’re truly invested in your vegan lifestyle, and the welfare of animals, begin enjoying your vegan wine options today!