As more people move towards a vegan diet, here's what you need to know about vegan wine.
Why vegan wine is on the rise
Many more people are now waking up to the benefits of a diet free from animal products. Not only is it sustainable and eco-friendly, research now shows that it is also possible to have a diet replete with all the essential nutrients and vitamins we need without the need for meat or dairy.
At present in the UK there are an estimated 542,000 people living a vegan lifestyle. This cultural shift in dietary requirements has sent a shockwave across the food industry meaning that many businesses are now adapting their procedures and processes to accommodate for this.
There are many products out there that you might reasonably assume are vegan because of what they are made from, wine being one of them, it’s just grapes right? This article will take a brief look at the rise of vegan wine and where you can find some.
Why wine isn’t vegan
The reason for why wine isn’t vegan lies in the filtration process. Not many people are aware of this as it is not something that is referred to on the labels. Unless a wine states explicitly that it is vegan it is safe to assume that otherwise it is not.
The traditional filtration process is not vegan. During the wine making process other ingredients are used during a process called ‘fining’ which is essentially a filtration process which gets rid of any impurities that may give the wine a cloudy appearance or bitter taste. Many vintage wine makers will actually just leave the wine to settle and wait for these impurities to clear naturally, whereas most other producers will get straight to it and filter out these impurities directly.
Unfortunately, as you may have already guessed every single one of the products that might be used during the fining process are animal derived, these include: egg albumen, fish oil, chitin (from crustacean shells), blood and bone marrow, casein and gelatin. Not a very appealing list.
However, like with most things, it is possible to use cruelty free, sustainable methods to achieve the same outcome. Some popular products that can be used to ensure that the filtration process is vegan include: vegetable plaques, plant casein, kaolin clay, bentonite clay, silica gel and limestone.
Where to find vegan wines
A bottle of vegan vino could make a great eco-friendly gift, so if you have any vegan friends or family this would be a thoughtful present as well as great conversation starter. Viva! sells a range of vegan wines including red, white and rosé wine gift cases, vegan ale sets and individual bottles to meet all your drinking needs.
As was hinted to briefly earlier, it is also possible to buy ‘natural wines’ that don’t go through a filtration process, these are naturally vegan and many of them are also organic and chemical. They are available to buy online and in a number of different outlets.
Vegan wine on the high street
In terms of high street outlets of vegan wine, the Co-op has recently launched a range of vegan wines with over half of their bottles now suitable for vegans. This is in response of course to an increasing amount of customers looking for more sustainable and animal-free alternatives. As a result of this increase in demand, we should hope to see vegan wine as well as many other vegan products become more widely available in the near future. A firm victory for veganism!
About the Author
After taking a career sabbatical, Ali Wood re-started her working career as a writer after a couple of decades working in the hospitality industry. She's now a full time mum first and foremost, but other than that writes articles and blog pieces on a range of topics from health and wellness right through to travel and leisure. In her free time, she volunteers for a couple of mental health charities close to her heart.