Grapes make wine, but “is wine vegan?” is a question that every vegan needs to ask. Learn about surprising wine making practices.
Have you ever asked yourself “Is wine vegan”? No?
If you’ve never asked yourself if wine is vegan then you may be shocked to learn that not only is it not always vegan, but sometimes it’s not even vegetarian friendly.
Wine and other alcoholic beverages are some of the Surprising Foods You Think Are Vegan, but Aren’t.
In this post, we’ll discuss what makes wine not vegan and how to find vegan wines. Which, yes, means that luckily there are brands that make vegan wines.
Isn’t wine made with grapes?
You’re asking yourself that question right. If grapes make wine then how is it not vegan? It all comes down to the same issue with why sugar isn’t always vegan.
It’s a valid question. In your mind, you need X to make Y and X is a vegan so how is Y not also vegan.
While yes, grapes are the main component in wine making, other things are added during the process that can make it not vegan.
Specifically, wine is processed through “fining agents”. This is needed in order to to remove things like protein, yeast, cloudiness, unwanted flavorings or colorings, and more.
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What fining agents are used?
The most popular and well known animal-derived fining agent used is isinglass.
Isinglass is gelatin from fish bladders. It is the most widely used and most known animal substance used in wine making; however, it’s not the only one.
Some wine makers also use these animal-derived fining agents:
- chitin – from crustacean shells
- blood and bone marrow
- casein (milk protein)
- egg albumen
- gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts)
- fish oil
Are there vegan fining agents?
Yes! In fact there are several used.
- bentonite clay
- kaolin clay
- plant casein
- silica gel
- vegetable plaques
If you find out that your favorite wine or local winery is using animal-derived fining agents you can take this list to them and ask them to consider changing their process.
Remember that consumer demand is always a factor, so if you can get more demand for change, then you are more likely to see positive results. You can also present to the BeVeg, a vegan certification process for alcoholic beverages and more.
Do companies have to disclose if they use these fining agents in their wine?
Unfortunately, companies are under no obligation to inform consumers that their wine is processed using animal products.
At least in the US, ingredients are not required at all on alcoholic beverages, which makes it even harder to determine if other animal products have been added besides just used in the processing stages.
How do I figure out if my wine is vegan?
First, look on your bottle. The quickest way is to see if there is a vegan logo or certification on the bottle itself.
Another popular way to find out is to use Barinvore.
Barnivore is a database of over 50,000 wine, beer, and liquor products that easily tells you if something is vegan or not.
And if none of these options are working for you, then you can call or e-mail the company directly and ask them about their processing.
We hope this post about is wine vegan was helpful! Comment down below and let us know your thoughts!