While we all think we know what goes into our wine (surely just grapes, right?) there are actually plenty of other things being added.
Some of those things are animal products, which is bad news for vegatarians, vegans or anyone doing veganuary.
What animal products are used in wine?
There are a number of stages to the winemaking process.
When a wine is young, it will normally be cloudy and contain some organic matter like tannin or proteins. Wine makers filter these out manually (fining) rather than waiting until it happens naturally, as it would with vintage wines.
Here are some of the animal products that have traditionally been used in the fining process. All of these are non-vegan, while some are also non-vegetarian.
- Blood and bone marrow
- Casein (milk protein)
- Chitin (fiber from crustacean shells)
- Egg albumen
- Fish oil
- Gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts)
- Isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes)
Most wines don’t actually list these on the label, so the general rule tends to be that any wine that doesn’t have a specific vegan marker on the bottle has been made using animal products.
If you shop for your tipples in a dedicated store rather than in the supermarket, there’s a likelihood they’ll have been briefed which ones vegans should avoid.
Are there vegan wines?
Thankfully, yes. After all, never being able to have a glass of red with your dinner would be a crying shame.
Vegan wines use alternative filtration methods like bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques instead, so your conscience can be clear when you have a drink.