Wine has been the all-time favorite spirit for men and women alike since ages. History suggests that this wine wonder has often been the pride of several social events and gatherings even in the past. Likewise, today, wine in all its varieties continues to rule the hearts of many. This is why we intend to explore a significant aspect to this beverage – is wine vegan?
Surely, this question may raise quite a few brows since most people would think that wine is anyway made of grapes. So why doubt over it being vegan or not in the first place? Well, only time and this post could tell for sure by the end. So let’s read on.
Animal Products in Wine
Is all wine vegan? Wine is indeed made of only grapes and that’s why it’s correct to assume it to be vegan-friendly. However, before we jump the gun, it’s also important to look at another aspect. Wine is made using a special process known as the fining process. This is where certain animal products may sometimes be used. They’re called fining agents and may include fish guts or egg.
These animal products are added to the wine preparation process to create a bond with the suspended particles present in the wine. This helps produce larger particles that emerge out of the wine much faster. This is exactly why large commercial wine houses use the fining process to hasten the wine-making.
Actually, a number of young wines are capable of eventually arriving at the same state as that achieved by fining, if left long enough. However, for commercial sale of wine, such time-consuming processes may not be feasible. Then how to clear wine quickly? By using fining process.
Also, bull’s blood was originally used as a fining agent in wine-making but was recently banned by the EU. That didn’t put a blanket ban on the use of animal products though – isinglass (fish bladders), gelatin (pork), casein (milk protein) and albumen (egg white) is still used in wine production.
Why is Most Wine Not Vegan?
This brings us to a yet another important question – is fining really necessary in wine production? We answered it partly above when we explained that fining process facilitates faster wine production by commercial winemakers who can’t afford natural longer times for the wines to reach the desired state. There’s another possible explanation to it.
Fining helps clarify the wine and in the absence of this process, a large number of wines would appear misty. Animal products like casein and egg whites are of help here. These fining agents “glomb” over the dissolved proteins in the wine. As a result, these proteins hasten out and deposit at the tank’s bottom. What you get is a clear transparent wine.
In other words, to get the wine of your choice, you need to compromise with certain factors and allow the entry of fining agents into your favorite beverage. Thus, the fining process containing animal products is, well, a necessity.
What is Vegan Wine?
All hope isn’t lost for vegan wine-lovers. Wine production is slowly but steadily taking a new direction by adopting vegan wine-making processes by learning how to clear wine naturally. Instead of using fining agents, they’re accepting bentonite which is a clay-based agent and does the same job as fining agents – precipitating undesirable proteins out of the wine. Besides, activated charcoal is yet another vegan agent being used for the same purpose.
Additionally, we see a shifting trend toward natural wine-making processes wherein wines are given more time to self-clarify, letting time take its natural course. Such wines are generally labelled as not fined or not filtered. So vegans can assuredly choose these without a doubt.
Is White Wine Vegan?
Though it’d always be better to cross-check with the store or carefully check the label yourself before making a purchase, here’s what we found. Some wineries make use of bentonite agent in place of isinglass, eggs, or fish guts to fine out protein from white wine. This means that such white wines can be safely taken by vegans.
Drinks that are Vegan
Vegan lovers have yet another bit of good news. Here’s a detailed list of various drinks that you can safely pick at any store, for they all are absolutely vegan. We compiled this for your convenience so you never have to be in doubt again before craving for a refreshing beverage.
- Alpine Spiced Cider
- Bolthouse Farms Green Goddess Juice
- Red Bull Energy Drink
- Rice Dream Non-Dairy Beverage
- Most of the sodas or soft drinks (Some soft drinks are not vegan while some are. Read the article on Are Sodas Vegan to know more)
Wrapping it Up
So now we know that wine which is essentially known to be a grape-only drink is indeed non-vegan. But the good news is that vegan varieties too are now becoming available at a steady pace.