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Wine

Vegan Wine

Wine is made of grapes and yeast, which as we know are fruit and a naturally occurring substance, so why aren’t all wines considered to be vegan?

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VEGAN WINE AND NORMAL WINE?

The difference between wines labelled as vegan and ‘normal’ wines comes down to protein. Do you know wine sometimes contains traces of animal products? We’re not talking about insects and random critters that might get caught up in the crusher; it’s about what happens in the winemaking process. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, this may be an issue for you, but thankfully winemakers can adapt their techniques to cater for all consumers.

When it’s very young, a wine usually appears hazy and includes floaters and sediment, just like cloudy apple juice. And, while some of us love our apple juice like this, most of us prefer our wines to be bright and clear. These characteristics will correct, and the wine will clarify naturally over time, but to speed things up, winemakers usually put them through a manual process known as fining. When a fining agent is added to a wine, it either binds to the suspended solids and causes them to fall to the bottom where they can be filtered, or it absorbs them.


WHAT IS USED TO FINE WINE?

Fining agents come in many guises and some of them are derived from animal products with the most common ones including blood and bone marrow, isinglass (gelatine from fish bladder membranes), egg albumin, fish oil, gelatine (animal protein) and casein (milk protein). That is why you often see disclaimers on wine labels such as, “May contain traces of egg white or fish products.” These agents can be used to remove tiny particles of sediment, that filtering alone can’t. While, these fining agents are precipitated out of the wines, the minuscule traces that may be absorbed into the wine are problematic for vegetarians and for vegans, whose diet and lifestyle eliminates anything containing animal products or by-products.  

 

WHAT IS USED TO FINE VEGAN WINE?

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Thankfully, vegans and vegetarians can still enjoy a good drop whilst knowing no animal products have been used in the process. There are vegan wines available for which winemakers have used non-animal derived fining agents including different types of clay-based agents such as bentonite, limestone, silica gel, activated charcoal, and plant casein. When they can, more and more winemakers are also choosing not to fine or filter their wine, allowing them to self-stabilize with particles naturally sinking to the bottom.

 

DO VEGAN WINES TASTE DIFFERENT TO OTHER WINES?

When it comes to taste and character, there is no real difference between wines fined with animal products or earth-based fining agents. Some wineries use the ‘traditional’ agents, others use earth and plant-based only, some use either method depending on the variety and style, and if time allows, some don’t fine or filter. As always, the flavour and characteristics of a wine comes down to the terroir, the vintage, the quality of the fruit, and the style it is made in.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF A WINE IS VEGAN?

In Australia, wine-producers are required by law to state on their labels if milk or egg products have been used during production. Usually, wines that have not been fined or filtered will also state this on the label, but if you are a vegan, the best option is to choose a wine that has been certified as vegan.

 

WHAT WINERIES PRODUCE VEGAN WINES?

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Check out the list below for some of the Australian wineries that produce vegan wines. While a few produce vegan-only wines, others produce vegan and non-vegan wines, so it’s always wise to check the label and details of each individual wine.

  • Artwine

  • De Bortoli

  • D’Arenberg

  • Bleasdale

  • Paxton

  • Koonara

  • Windowrie

  • Angove

  • Battle of Bosworth

  • Delatite

  • Hither & Yon

  • Chaffey Bros

  • Yalumba

  • 919 Wines

  • Gemtree

  • Kalleske

  • Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards

  • Serafino

  • Yangarra Estate Vineyard

 

At Wine Selectors, we have a great range of premium vegan wines to choose from, so, you’ll always be able to enjoy your favourites, or better still, discover some new ones. Check out our quality range of red and white vegan wines today.

Wine
Published on
10 Apr 2018

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