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Vegan Wine

Organic vegan wines with no animal-derived ingredients

Organic Vegan Wines from EcoVine Organic Wine Club

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Many wines are made using animal-derived ingredients to assist in the processing of the wine. Whilst these ingredients in the main are filtered out of the wine before it is sold, the use of animal ingredients in the creation of the wine makes them unsuitable for consumption by vegans. Typically these ingredients are used as processing aids in the "fining" or filtration part of the winemaking process to help remove solid impurities such as grape skins, stems, pips, to remove the yeast used in the fermentation process or to adjust the tannin levels in certain wines. This is done to end up with a clearer, brighter, better tasting and more presentable wine.

What animal ingredients are commonly found in wine?

The most common animal ingredients used in wine making are isinglass (a very pure form of gelatine from sturgeon fish bladders), gelatine (extract from boiled cow's or pig's hooves and sinews), egg whites (or albumin) and caseins (a protein from milk). Very occasionally blood has been used as an additive - "sangre de toro" means "bulls blood" - but rarely literally any more. This ingredient was declared illegal for use in European wines in the aftermath of the outbreak of BSE (mad cow disease).

Are animal ingredients needed to make wine?

No! Many wines are made differently - hence vegan wine.

What alteratives exist?

Bentonite or kaolin are two minerals that are used for fining by some winemakers. Some filter manually without the use of additives, or not at all.

Does vegan wine taste different to other wines?

No. There are many wines of many different types that are suitable for vegans from around the world and across the spectrum of grape types and price ranges.

What about vegan champagne?

There are many champagnes that are suitable for vegans. There are also vegan sparkling wines, vegan red wines, vegan white wines and vegan rose wines. There are no categories of wine that I am aware of which there isn't some wine suitable for vegans.

What is vegetarian wine?

Vegetarian wine is wine that has been produced without the use of additives that required animals to be killed. The use of eggs and dairy processing aids is okay for a wine to be suitable for vegetarians.

Why are some wines suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans?

Some wines are processed using egg whites or casein, an egg by-product, which means they are suitable for vegetarians but not vegans. Typically white wines use these processing aids.

Is organic wine suitable for vegans?

Not necessarily. In fact, no more so than any other wine. Organic wine is produced without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and with carefully restricted amounts of chemical preservatives (sulphur dioxide normally). Nothing is required with regards to the use of animal-derived ingredients.

Is organic wine suitable for vegetarians?

Not necessarily for the same reasons as it may not be suitable for vegans.

But I thought organic wine was "natural"?

Animal-derived ingredients are considered "natural". In fact organic farmers may use animal blood and bone meal (crushed animal bones) which are slaughter house by products in place of chemical fertilizers, as well as any processing aids that are used in the wine itself.

Does vegan wine have a special label?

Not usually. Occasionally a wine may be marked as suitable for vegans - e.g. Penfolds Clare Valley organic red wine - but that's rare. The Co-op supermarket chain labels its own brand wines as "suitable for vegetarians and vegans" when appropriate.

Does vegetarian wine have a special label?

Not usually. However many supermarkets in the UK and Ireland at least label a lot of their own brand wines as "suitable for vegetarians" when appropriate. They don't use a recognized vegetarian symbol, such as that of the Vegetarian Society. The existence of "suitable for vegetarians" on the label doesn't mean that the wine either is or isn't suitable for vegans. The lack of any mark of suitability signifies nothing either, as most wines are not marked for suitability at all.

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