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Prosecco is a popular drink perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re celebrating, you’re out of lunch, or you just fancy a glass of something fizzy, prosecco is the go-to for many.
However, if you’re a vegan, you have to be extra careful when choosing your bottle.
Not all prosecco is vegan, and not all labels show clearly if it’s vegan or not. So how do you know which wine is vegan? And what exactly makes prosecco non-vegan?
Keep reading to learn more about vegan-friendly prosecco, including information on what makes prosecco non-vegan, what vegan prosecco tastes like, and the benefits of vegan-friendly prosecco.
You may think that because prosecco is just fermented grapes, it’s suitable for vegans. Unfortunately for the 80 mil+ vegans in the world, it’s not.
Most prosecco makers will use animal products in the fining/ filtration process, making it unsuitable for vegans, vegetarians, and anybody making animal-friendly changes.
The good news is that there are plenty of vegan options when it comes to prosecco and other wines.
Veganism is on the rise - according to The Vegan Society, there were only 150,000 vegans in 2014 in the UK, and this number rose to a whopping 600,000 in 2019 - and it’s sure to have increased since.
Businesses, supermarkets, and vintners all around are catering for this rise in demand, so there are many vegan-friendly prosecco options for vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians alike.
Vegan prosecco is made the same way as normal prosecco - the only differences happen during the fining process.
Fining the wine makes the wine stable, clear, and gives it the fresh look we recognise in our favourite bottles of prosecco.
It gets rid of any unwanted tastes and aromas, as well as clearing any sediments such as yeast and protein - but where do the animal products come into it?
Fining agents are a key part of the fining process, and they often contain animal products.
Some examples of animal products used in fining agents include blood, bone marrow, gelatin, fish bladder gelatin, fish oil, casein (milk protein), egg whites, and chitin (from crustacean shells).
Although these ingredients are only used on a small scale and only a very small amount will remain in the prosecco (if any!), it still makes it unsuitable for vegans.
Some of the products (e.g casein and egg whites) are suitable for vegetarians, but wine labels can be unclear, and most of the time it’s best not to take chances.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to these animal products, some of which include silica gel, silica clay, pea gelatine, kaolin (clay mineral), activated charcoal, and kieselguhr (sedimentary rock).
You can also find vegan prosecco that hasn’t gone through the fining process at all. This type of prosecco is usually organic and is better for you in more ways than one.
Organic prosecco usually contains more resveratrol (32% more than regular prosecco), which can help your body fight against cancer, has anti-ageing properties, and can even raise your life expectancy.
Organic prosecco also contains more healthy bacteria that will boost your gut health.
The bacteria found in organic prosecco can help you manage your weight better and speed up your metabolism.
As expected with organic products, it’s unlikely you’ll find chemicals and preservatives.
Vintners avoid using herbicides and pesticides in their vineyards when making organic wines, which is both healthier and better for the environment.
You may notice that animal products sometimes aren’t listed on the labels of prosecco and other wines, but this doesn’t mean that it’s a vegan-friendly option.
It’s not mentioned on the label as most of the animal product is evaporated or filtered away during the fining process - so only remnants of the animal products remain.
Likewise, many vegan prosecco manufacturers don’t advertise the fact that they’re vegan, so you have tried vegan prosecco without even realising it.
More and more supermarkets have vegan options, including prosecco and other wines.
If your favourite supermarket doesn’t have any, you could try looking online for vegan prosecco.
Another good option is asking fellow vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians.
There are helpful Facebook Groups, informative Twitter threads, and many people wanting to share their vegan finds, tips, and tricks.
Vegan prosecco tastes just like regular prosecco - as previously mentioned, the only difference happens in the fining process, where animal products are used on a small scale to help filtration.
The fining agents will either get filtered out or they’ll evaporate, and only a small amount will remain, which is why many vintners won’t include it on the label.
However, you may notice a difference in both taste and texture if you opt for an unfiltered prosecco.
Unfiltered prosecco hasn’t been through the fining process, so it may taste a little different, have a cloudier appearance, and have a slightly thicker texture.
Some of the main reasons that people decide against vegan options include accessibility and cost.
People believe that there aren’t many vegan-friendly options, including vegan wine.
However, in 2021, this isn’t the case. In every leading supermarket, you’re sure to find vegan or and organic prosecco options - and it won’t break the bank either.
In the past, vegan products may have been more expensive than regular options, but in 2021 you can easily find a vegan-friendly prosecco for the same cost as your usual go-to bottle.
You can also enjoy every sip of your vegan-friendly prosecco knowing that no animals have been harmed to make it.
Even if a small amount of animal product is used, the animal will still have suffered.
For example, egg whites that are used in the fining process will most likely come from chickens that have never seen the sunlight and have lived their lives in tiny metal cages.
Bone marrow, blood, and gelatin will come from animals who have been bred to suffer - cruelty is pretty much always involved when sourcing these ingredients.
Choosing vegan options can also help the environment. The animal farming industry is one of the largest polluters on our entire planet and accounts for 14.5% of all manmade greenhouse gas.
This roughly equals the exhaust emissions of every car, train, ship, and aircraft on our planet, which is a lot.
A vegan world would result in a 70% drop in all food-related emissions around the globe.
The animal farming industry includes feeding, watering, storing, processing, transporting, and killing livestock, all of which requires a lot of energy.
Forests are also cut down to accommodate this, so greenhouse gases aren’t getting absorbed.
Choosing a vegan-friendly prosecco is a statement that you care about the planet, you care about animals welfare, and you care about your health.
Even if you’re not a dedicated vegan, taking small, positive steps in the right direction can make the world of difference.