When Vegan Wine Became So Popular
What is Vegan Wine?
A vegan wine, as you may expect, is a wine created without the use of any animal products whatsoever. You may think that wine does not contain any animal products, but actually producers often use gelatin, albumin, or other forms of animal derivatives as a fining product. These are used to take away the unwanted particles present in wine.
A vegan wine will use a non-animal substitute in order to remove these by-products, or simply let the particles organically sink to the bottom of the bottle.
Vegan Wine’s Growing Popularity
Veganism, in general, is growing more and more popular, with many people becoming concerned about the state of the planet and the cruelty towards those we share it with. This popularity is pushing products we may never have expected, such as vegan McDonalds’ burgers, and indeed vegan wine.
People are paying more attention than ever to what is included in their consumables, and vegan wine brands, along with organic wine, produced without the use of pesticides, is becoming ever more popular. There is now even a range of vegan sparkling wines.
Aren’t Most Wines Vegan?
One would expect, given that wine is made from grapes and fermented using yeast, that most wines are vegan. However, while this process does not use animal products, later in the fermentation and fining process many winemakers will start to use extra products that may not have vegan status.
While fermentation continues, yeast transforms the grape sugar into alcohol. This results in many tiny particles remaining, and winemakers must remove these in order to produce high-quality wine. The name of the process used to remove this is ‘fining’, which is most commonly carried out with the use of animal products.
If you were to leave wine to its own devices, it would eventually fine itself. However, producers often prefer to expedite the fining using extra products, and then remove everything, which is much faster and easier.
Common and traditional agents used to fine wine all come from animals, and the most popular are as follows:
- Casein (milk protein)
- Isinglass (fish bladder)
These products are used as they are the most efficient, however, their inclusion in the process does mean that most wines are unsuitable for vegan use.
How to Make Vegan Wine
In order to make wine vegan, you must find a way to remove these animal products from the fining process. Below are several modern fining techniques that are being used to avoid using animal derivatives.
This is a kind of clay that can be used to absorb particles and is naturally occurring.
Similar to gelatin but slightly less efficient, and with no animal products.
Another great vegan fining agent alternative, activated charcoal does not affect the wine’s flavor in any way.
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to leave the wine, and allow it to fine itself (the particles will settle to the bottom). While this is much slower, the increased dedication to natural, vegan, and organic products makes this extra effort worthwhile.
The Bottom Line
Nowadays many varieties of wine are available to vegans. However, it can be difficult to determine whether a wine is vegan or not, as they are not required to state it on the bottle. Careful research can help with this, but there are great services online. Many online wine stores have vegan wine clubs, saving you the worry of figuring it out for yourself.