Everything You Need To Know About Vegan Wines
Veganism is on the rise around the globe, with the rise of vegan food, comes the rise of vegan wines. There are meat alternatives, dairy-free milk, and even vegan eggs available. But what if you want a glass of wine with your plant-based meal?
The wine label does not have to say whether a wine is vegan or vegetarian-friendly, as there are no laws mandating the same.
Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice by pressing crushed grapes. Many wines are settled and clarified using fining agents that extract suspended little particles, yeast, or proteins and get rid of that hazy look, so the wine is clear and vivid.
Fining agents have typically been derived from albumen from egg whites, milk protein called casein, fish oil and bladders, chitin from crustacean shells, and even gelatin. Many vegans and vegetarians don’t have any idea that animal ingredients are used when fining wine. However, this issue of alcohol’s fining process has risen to the forefront and some companies are making the move to go vegan.
Difference between vegan and non-vegan wine
Many people think that all wines are vegan; after all, it’s made from grapes. However, most wines are not and it comes down to the filtration process. Most wines are hazy in colour and contain tiny molecules of proteins, yeast, and other organic particles. However, wine lovers like their wine to be clear and bright and it’s nearly impossible and wasteful to wait for solids to sink by gravity and skimming off the clarified juice takes time and with some protein-rich grape varieties, the more time the juice is left to settle increases the chances of microbes spoiling the juice. To achieve this clarification and to accelerate this process, many filtration methods are used. So, the fining agents are used to polish a final wine again where time doesn’t allow for gravity to take its course.
Traditionally, fining agents are of animal origin, but, these products are removed from the wine. However, there is an outside chance that a minuscule amount of these will end up in your glass. So from a vegan perspective, it’s exploitation of animals used in the winemaking process.
Taste different – Vegan verses non-vegan
There is no documented difference in the taste of vegan wines and non-vegan wines. The wines would have differences in taste and flavour due to the different treatment in the winemaking process. With a huge number of variables at play, it wouldn’t be fair to say if a vegan wine would taste better or worse than non-vegan. The soil, topography, and climate have a significant part to play in the taste of wine.
How to tell if a wine is vegan?
When it comes to telling whether your wine is vegan or not, it can be hard to estimate as there are no rules to list all the ingredients on a wine bottle. However, with the rise in interest in vegan wines, most winemakers are now labelling their wine vegan-friendly, making it easier to find.