What? “Fruit of the Vine” isn’t Vegan??

321px-Red_Wine_GlasDid you know that a lot of wine ISN’T Vegan Friendly?

This is very bad news for me as I try to eat a vegan diet while enjoying a glass of red wine or two!!

Even though wine is made from fermented grapes, wine often undergoes a clarifying process called fining to remove any loose particles such as grape skins and stems, and sediments.  Fining is often done with sturgeon (fish bladder), egg white, gelatin or casein (milk protein).

While fining is used to clarify and smooth out a wine; some wine makers believe that fining can remove too much sediment and with it some of the wine’s key flavors and complexities.  Additionally, given time, wines will self-clarify and self-smooth, and an ever growing number of wine producers are choosing not to fine or filter their wine.  These wines will be labeled “not fines and/or not filtered”.

It is possible to find vegan-friendly wines that use non-animal fining agents such as bentonite and/or activated charcoal.  unfortunately there is not labeling requirement so it isn’t always easy to determine if a wine is vegan or not.

I found a website Barnivore that offers a comprehensive list of wines (as well as beers and liquors), and labels them as vegan friendly or not.  They also offer a variety of apps for looking up wines on the go.  I downloaded vgan on my phone and will be referring to it before I buy a bottle of wine at the store, or order a glass of wine in a restaurant!

After a comprehensive web search I did find a few vegan wineries.  Some of these wines can be found in liquor stores, or they are available online.   Frey Organic Winery,  Hunt County Wines,  The Vegan Vine,  Girasole Vineyards,   And while most of their wines do indeed use animal products, Sterling’s Vintner Collection does not

Another good site is The Vegan Sommelier, The Vegan Sommeliers taste wines from small family owned vineyards, confirm that they are vegan, and offer those that they consider the best on their website.



8 responses to “What? “Fruit of the Vine” isn’t Vegan??

  1. When I brew, what I make is most often vegan. Instead of isinglass (sturgeon bladder) I use Irish Moss. Irish Moss is a seaweed but needs to be used in a boiling liquid. Since wine is not heated it will not work for it.

    Usually when I do meads and ciders I let them clarify on their own. These are rarely heated when I set them to ferment.

  2. Wait, what? Really! I never would’ve considered this. Thanks for the heads up. That’s crazy!

  3. I like Jon’s tip above. I can send you over plenty of moss. The stone walls are crawling with it!

  4. Wow! I had no idea that wine went through that process. I’m not vegan but that’s always something good to know. Thanks for sharing.

  5. In even earlier times, dried animal blood was used in fining wines, but at leat that practice can’t happen now.

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