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.
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
Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Carmel Winery Caroline Cellars Winery
Castle Rock Winery
Cave Springs Cellars
Chateau Diana Winery
Chateau St. Jean
Cherry Creek Wine
China Bend Winery
Church and State Wines
Cima Colina Winery
Colchester Ridge Estate Winery
Cooper Mountain Wine
De La Montanya Winery
Diago Cru Estate Wines
Donkey Bum Rose
Duplin Wine Cellars
Eagles Nest Winery
East Dell Estates Edge Wines
First Drop Wines
Fleur de California
Florida Orange Groves
Frederick Wildman 7 Sons
Hardy’s Bin 7 Riesling 2001.
Santa Rosa Estate Cheninb Torrontes
Tesco Seriously Fruity Rose
Tim Adams Clare Valley Resiling
Valbona Cabernet Sauvinion 2002.
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!
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.