Vegan Wine Guide

You may think:  Wine, Grapes, VEGAN?  Not necessarily.

Here are some interesting facts on Vegan and Non-Vegan Wines that may surprise you.

Isn’t Wine Naturally Vegan?

Wine is, indeed, made from beautiful natural grapes, but they aren’t what make most wines non-Vegan.  First, let’s look at the filtering system used when distilling wine.  Filtering or “fining” is the process which renders a wine non-vegan.  Traditional methods use a number of animal products such as egg albumin, gelatin and various components of milk.  In some places in the Mediterranean, Bull’s Blood is used as a colorant.  Kosher Wines are not always Vegan either, since they are often processed with isinglass (from fish livers) derived from fish considered to be kosher.

Filtering is a process which eliminates any unwanted particles in the finished wine.  These particles can be the skin of grapes or some proteins or yeasts.  Vegan wines are those that either aren’t refined or that use non-animal sources for filtering such as bentonite, which is a clay that absorbs impurities.  The single best way to find out if a wine is Vegan is to ask the winemaker.  The second is to learn how to read and understand wine labels.

Labels

Wine makers don’t have to list their methods of filtering on their labels, because whatever was used is systematically removed from the wine in its final, drinkable state.  Many people prefer a wine that self-settles and wine makers will usually put this on their bottle labels, as many non-vegan wine connoisseurs prefer a settled wine or one that is unfiltered.

The actual ingredients found in certain wines that are non-vegan are usually listed on the label itself.  In some wines, dairy products are used or honey.

Even sea shells have been tossed into the mix for flavor.  Barnivore, the vegan friendly online drinks guide, says that there is one type of wine which is cured with a whole chicken in the vat, although it doesn’t mention which wine or if the chicken is alive, dead or even cooked (ugh!).  Vegans must remember when looking at labels that even if one of these unfavorable products is removed in the final processing of the wine, there are still minute particles of that animal source remaining in the final bottled wine.  Remember that a label stating “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s vegan.   For example, gelatin, made from bones is known as “Bone Charcoal”.  In the UK, Tate, Lyle and Billington say that their white sugars are vegan, but not necessarily the brown sugars, which may use Bone Charcoal for the refining process.  I found no reports, however, on sugars used in the US.

US numbered food series

Also, a number of foods have “E” numbers listed in their ingredients and these are the ones for vegans to avoid, and to look for on ingredient labels:

101, 101a, 120, 153, 203, 213, 227, 270,282,302, 322, 325, 326, 327, 333, 341a, 341b, 341c, 404, 422, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 470, 471, 472a, 472b, 472c, 472d, 472e, 473, 474, 475, 476, 477, 478, 481, 482, 483, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 542, 570, 572, 627, 631, 635, 901, 904 and 920.

Vegan Wine List

Below is a list of Wines, Wine Companies and Vineyards that have been approved of as Vegan; This is by no means a complete list and other lists are made available online.  Is your favorite vegan wine on this list?

Academy Culinary Wines

Albert I Noya

Alderbrook Winery

Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Ampelos

Asda

Aum Cellars

Avery Lane

Balthazar Barossa

Barrelstone

Basignami Winery

Becker Vineyards

Bent Creek

Big Basin

Boordy Vineyards

Bordeleau Winery

Brown Brothers

Brys Hill

Bully Hill

Burrowing Owl

Calamus Estates

Caparone Winery

Carivintas Winery

Carmel Winery Caroline Cellars Winery

Carolinian Winery

Casa Barraca

Casa Patronales

Castle Rock Winery

Cave Springs Cellars

Chateau Diana Winery

Chateau St. Jean

Chatham Vineyards

Cherry Creek Wine

China Bend Winery

Chinook Wines

Chronic Cellars

Church and State Wines

Cima Colina Winery

CinnabarWines

Circa Estates

Cline Cellars

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery

Cooper Mountain Wine

Corbett Canyon

De La Montanya Winery

Deerfield Ranch

Diago Cru Estate Wines

Donkey Bum Rose

Door Penninsula

Duplin Wine Cellars

Eagles Nest Winery

East Dell Estates Edge Wines

Familia Zuccardi

First Drop Wines

Fisheye Winery

Fleur de California

Florida Orange Groves

Foppiano Vineyards

Four Chimneys

Foursight Wines

Frederick Wildman 7 Sons

FrenchRabbitt

Frey Vineyards

Frogpond farm

Hardy’s Bin 7 Riesling 2001.

Santa Rosa Estate Cheninb Torrontes

Tesco Monster

Tesco Seriously Fruity Rose

Tim Adams Clare Valley Resiling

Valbona Cabernet Sauvinion 2002.

Valbona Chardonnay

With so many wine choices now available to vegans, and more being created each year, there’s plenty of opportunity for vegans to enjoy some great wines!

References

Alcorn, Jeremy.  “Is your Beer Vegan”?  Vanguard 2009.

Barnivore:  “Your Vegan Wine and Beer Guide”.  Thrust Labs, 2009

Frommers.org:  “Pocket Guide to Vegan Wines”. From” Vegans are from Mars”, Sept. 2009.

Suite 101.com:  “A Guide to Vegan Wines”.2009.

“Vegan-L-Faq”, Michael Traub, 2009.

Vegan Connection.com: “Not Vegan”. 2010.

Vegan Nutritionista.com:  “Vegan Wine”.  2010.

Vegan Volumes.  May, 2010.

Vegetarian News:  “Organic Wines”. 2010.


Beau Giannini
Beau Giannini

Author