If you are considering to or have recently gone vegan, then perhaps you probably already know that being vegan means a lot more than just not drinking milk or eating eggs. Things like apple sauce, jam, and detergent sheets just might contain animal products. But maybe you’ve never wondered about the wine in your glass. If you’re a wine lover, there’s one big question remaining: is wine vegan?
The answer? Sometimes.
When is wine vegan?
Right now you might be wondering, “Isn’t wine just made from grapes? Doesn’t that make all wine vegan?” Yes, wine is made from grapes, but no, that does not mean all wine is vegan. The way the winemakers make the wine will determine whether or not a wine is vegan or not. In fact, some wines aren’t even vegetarian.
As wine is being made, it goes through something known as a “fining agent”. Fining agents help make wine less acidic or bitter. Essentially, a fining agent finishes off the wine to make it more palatable, faster. It is not necessary to use a fining agent as the process will happen naturally without one. Most winemakers, however, choose to use a fining agent to hurry along the process.
Some fining agents are not vegan.
There are a lot of different things that can be used as a fining agent, and many are not vegan. Those include:
The last two (gelatin and isinglass) would actually make a wine not even suitable for vegetarians.
There are vegan-friendly fining agents.
Presumably, due to the rise in vegetarianism and veganism, many winemakers have started using vegan-friendly fining agents. These include bentonite and activated charcoal.
Wine labels and ingredients
Finding a vegan wine can be tricky, not because they don’t exist, but because wine labels don’t necessarily tell you anything. As of right now, US law does not require winemakers to include the fining agents on the label, making it hard to know if the wine is vegan-friendly or not.
How to find out if a wine is vegan-friendly
The best online resource for finding out whether a wine is vegan-friendly or not is Barnivore. This site has an extensive database of wines, liquor, and beer, and tells you the vegan status of each. They organize the wines by name and country or region. They currently have more than 1600 wines from USA listed as vegan-friendly.
If you are trying to live a vegan lifestyle, you don’t have to abandon wine altogether! Just do a little research to know what’s in your drink. Find a vegan wine you love and pour it into an unbreakable wineglass!