13 Apr Vegan Wine – all you need to know
We get asked a lot more these days about vegan wines. As people are becoming more aware of what we eat and drink you may have noticed the upsurge in vegetarian and vegan products in supermarkets and on the high street. But what makes a wine vegan friendly?
Well, to understand this process we must first start at the beginning…
Wine is basically fermented grape juice. Yeast is then used to convert the sugars into alcohol…with me so far? So skip, hop and jump a little further forward and we are almost ready for the finishing product. But first, the wine must go through a process calling ‘fining’ and it is at this point that determines what makes a wine vegetarian, vegan or neither. All young wines are hazy and contain tiny molecules such as proteins and tartrates (if you have ever seen what looks like glass in your bottle then fear not- these are tartrates, a natural component found in grapes and if not fined properly can remain in the bottle). They are all natural and in no way harmful. However, we wine-drinkers like our wines to be clear and bright.
Traditionally the most commonly used fining agents were casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). These fining agents are known as processing aids. They are not additives to the wine.
Vegan wines use clay or charcoal based fining agents that work in exactly the same way. Most wines are labelled but it is not a legal requirement. If you are unsure then please give us a call and we will be more than happy to help.
Here are our best vegan wine picks:
- Moko black Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand
Classically aromatic with texture and breadth – IWC Silver Award.
- Domaine de la Motte Chablis – France
Classic Chablis from vines grown on the famous Kimmeridgian clay.
- Cadus Vista Flores Appellation Chardonnay – Argentina
Tiny production but big on style. So mineral and delicious. There’s nothing ‘new world’ about this wine.
- Vega del Rayo Rioja Reserva – Spain
Classic Rioja Reserva from the Alta region.
- False Bay ‘Old School’ Syrah – South Africa
This is fermented with wild yeast raised in large wooden foudres. An homage to the savoury, wild yet elegant rendition from Paul Boutinot’s ancestral lands.
- Araldica Barbera d’Asti ‘Ceppi Storici’ – Italy
Araldica have produced this wine for more than half a century. Aged for at least a year in both large oak casks and smaller barriques this wine still shows layer upon layer of rich, generous brambly fruits. – Catavinum Gold Award