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How To Tell If Wine Is Vegan

How To Tell If Wine Is Vegan

So, how can you tell if wine is vegan? Wine seems to be something that you instantly presume is vegan - it’s only squashed grapes after all, isn't it? Surprisingly, most wines are not vegan.

In fact, there are more non-vegan wines out there than vegan. As crazy as it sounds, egg whites are most commonly used as an ingredient in wine. Egg whites are high in albumen, which comes in handy during the fining process.

Apart from egg whites, bone marrow, gelatin and fish oil are all among the list of animal products that can be found in wine. The easiest and most reassuring way to be able to tell if wine is vegan is by looking out for a certified vegan label.

Luckily, in the UK you have to meet requirements to be able to use a certified vegan label on your products, meaning you can have all faith in believing the product is definitely 100% vegan-friendly and free from any animal-related products.

Although all animal products used in the fining process are eventually filtered out and evaporate after filtering the wine, the final product is still considered unsuitable for those who have adopted a vegan lifestyle.


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Why Isn’t All Wine Vegan?

Unfortunately, for those who are vegan, most winemakers do use various animal products during the fining process. Although these do eventually get removed, traces can be absorbed. This makes the wine unsuitable for vegan consumption.

For those vegans that aren't avid wine drinkers, it might be shocking news to discover that some wines aren’t vegan, so why not make it easier for everyone and leave out the process of using animal products completely?

Winemakers care a lot about the appearance and final taste of their product and opting to use animal products in the fining process when making wine can definitely help with the overall end result.

Filtering wine is a stylistic choice, and doesn't necessarily make the wine taste any better than if you didn’t filter it.

Filtering wine helps remove the particles that create the cloudy effect, which many believe ruins the appearance. As expected, many vineyards care massively about their final product, and if using animal products helps with that, it's obvious they’re going to use them.


Five Tips To Finding Vegan Wine

Now you understand why all wine products aren't always suitable for vegans, it’s time to learn how you can identify vegan wines yourself. Here are our top five tips for finding vegan wine.


Tip One - Check For Vegan Labels

Finding a certified vegan label means the product has a registered trademark and is completely vegan. Seeing a vegan label is almost like you’ve struck gold - it saves you having to scan across the ingredients list and is a trustworthy source of information.


Tip Two - Look For Unfiltered or Unfined Wine

Using animal products in wine is only needed when filtering the wine, so finding an unfiltered or unfined wine is a clear indication that it will be vegan.

In most cases, unfiltered wine will be labelled vegan anyway, but if you're after some extra reassurance, seeing unfiltered wine printed on the label will help to confirm.


Tip Three - Google Search

If there isn't enough information on the label to confirm that the wine of your choice is vegan or not, a quick Google search of the company and the type of wine it is followed by ‘vegan’ will give some precise results.

An alternative way to find out if it’s vegan is by googling any unknown ingredients that you might not recognise.

Even though you might already have knowledge of most animal-based ingredients, some companies might use more complex wording, so always be sure to check on Google if you're unsure.


Tip Four - Website or Social Media

Many wine companies list their ingredients in more detail compared to the basic text on the back of their label.

Usually, they’ll explain where the wine has come from. including the process and some background information about the company or vineyard.

Reading up on the process and seeing if they leave their wine unfiltered is a clue that their wine could be vegan, but they will also state if their wine is vegan or not somewhere on their website.

Similar to being able to find additional information by looking through a website, you can also find any additional information by looking at the company's social media channels, such as Instagram or Facebook.

We include information about our vegan wines on our very own ThinK Wine website. If you’re looking for high-quality vegan wine (that is also low-calorie and low-sugar!), then check out our selection of Vegan Prosecco and Vegan Wine on our website.


Tip Five - Advertisement

If a wine company is vegan, you will definitely hear about it. Being inclusive to vegans means you have a bigger audience to be able to sell to, so most winemakers that don't use any animal products and opt to leave their wine unfiltered will make it clear when advertising, whether that be through social channels, their website or advertisements.


What Exactly Is Vegan Wine?

Ultimately, vegan wine doesn't go through a process called fining. Fining is the culprit that makes the wine unable to be drunk by those who are vegan. The fining process allows winemakers to remove any unwanted compounds.

It’s completely optional whether or not a winery decides to leave the particles to naturally sink to the bottom and leave that cloudy effect, but some perfectionists within the wine industry think that missing out on this stage in the wine-making process could potentially ruin their products' final appearance.

Luckily, vegan wine is readily available in most stores, and with more people taking on the vegan lifestyle, a lot more wineries are deciding to make the switch to fully vegan or at least deciding to offer vegan options, ditching all animal products.

Bentonite, a form of clay or pea protein is becoming popular within the industry, as it still allows winemakers to filter their wine in a vegan-friendly way.


Does Vegan Wine Taste Different?

The short answer is no. Vegan and plant-based wine doesn't require to be filtered, and whether you decide to include the fining process when making wine or not, it doesn't affect the taste at all.

This is great for vegans because it means you're not missing out on any great flavours at the expense of your dietary choice.

It’s great to know there's not much difference between vegan and non-vegan wines, but one thing that could be noticeable is the hazy appearance of the wine.

The residue of the sediment, which often isn't even seen, can sometimes be at the bottom of your glass. This is why some winemakers use the fining process and animal products, as using these creates a clearer, smoother wine.


Do Winemakers Really Need To Use Animal Products?

In conclusion, wine does not need animal products. Some great, top-quality wines that are out there on the market either use vegan alternatives when they get to the fining stage or leave the wine unfiltered.

As many wine connoisseurs have discussed, the taste isn't affected in any way whether you leave this process out or not, meaning that all wines could be vegan if they really wanted to.

It all comes down to how winemakers want their end product to look and taste, most wineries want their wine to taste smooth and be clear of any unwanted particles, phenolics and tartrates (also known as wine diamonds).

The overall appearance is ultimately what sells the product and entices you to pick it up from the shelf, so it's understandable why some wineries decide to filter their wine.

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