I recently saw a wine labeled as vegan, which seriously confused me because I was positive that grapes did not come from animals! Well, biology hasn’t gone crazy – it’s not the grapes that are from animals but some of the substances that wines are often filtered through (often to remove certain flavors, sediment and dead yeast cells left over from the fermentation process). These filtering agents (often known as “fining agents”) typically consist of non-vegan items e.g., blood, bone marrow, fish oil, gelatin, egg albumen (from egg whites), casein (from milk). Yeah, reading that list makes me want to only drink vegan wines! If only vegan wines were more readily available and had a larger selection of great-tasting ones!
So, how are vegan wines made? Some vegan wines are made by skipping this filtering process altogether. Others use vegan fining agents such as carbon, limestone, silica gel, kaolin clay, and plant casein. Vegan wines are not always clearly labeled, unlike organic wines, which are getting much more popular. However, they can be very delicious wines. I enjoyed a lovely Columbia Valley Riesling that was both organic and vegan. If you want to make sure that you’re drinking a vegan wine, then check out these websites, which have very comprehensive listings of wines that are and aren’t vegan friendly: http://www.barnivore.com/wine# and http://www.vegans.frommars.org/wine/.
Let me know if you try any good vegan wines!