What Makes a Wine Vegan: in simple terms

What Makes a Wine Vegan: in simple terms

Nov 09, 2023Eden Hargreaves

Winemaking is a century old natural process where the fermentation of sugars in grapes creates alcohol, and is therefore a completely vegan process. Therefore, many people ask how wines can not be classified as vegan when it is effectively made from fruit. It is the fining of the wine, which is the removal of yeast, protein and cloudiness from a wine, that had historically been carried out using animal products. Fining agents often include milk protein, Bulls’ blood (banned by the EU in the last decade), egg whites, crustacean shells (critin) and fish bladder membranes to name a few.  

Although such agents were used historically, in modern winemaking there are many alternatives that are often used by producers that do not involve animal products. These can include silica gel, bentonite or kaolin clay, limestone, and some vegetable plaques. Many wineries often bottle wine unfiltered and unfined which therefore removes any of the fining process and make wines in a more natural way, with lower intervention.

Despite this being effectively the modern way, many producers continue to use ‘old school’ winemaking techniques, but even those that do not use animal products as part of their winemaking may not look to be certified vegan friendly, due to additional costs or blue tape involved with some regulation. The same goes for Organic producers. Many practice organic and chemical free winemaking, but do not become certified as vegan wine brands.

The terms vegan friendly, and vegan certified can separate those that practice vegan methods, and those are certified. Certification is always displayed on the wine label. With veganism growing across the UK and globally, there is far more emphasis on vegan wines in the last decade, and more and more producers are moving towards such methods. Wine&Earth offers a wide range of vegan friendly and certified wines that can be found here

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