By Lynne Colye, Master of Wine | O'Briens Wine Director
What is a vegan wine? Why Would A Wine Not Be Vegan? Is all wine O'Briens Wine Director, Lynne Coyle Master of Wine, explains what makes a wine vegan, and how an increasing number of wineries are producing vegan friendly wine.
Why Would A Wine Not Be Vegan?
If a wine is made from grapes, why would it not be Vegan friendly?
Although wine is made from fruit, it is the filtering (fining) process that introduces animal products.
What can be used by wine makers instead of animal products? Many wine makers opt to use other products when fining (finshing) their wines such as Industrial filters and bentonite instead of using egg whites.
Egg whites are traditionally used for fine wines, particularly in Bordeaux, as it is deemed to be a very gentle process.
Animal based products may be used to carry out this process such as egg whites, casein, gelatin or isinglass.
What make a wine vegan ?
A common misconception is that wine is vegan or vegetarian friendly as it is made from grapes, this in fact is not the case. Historically wines have used animal based products for the fining process of wines. Fining is the process that ensures the wine arrives to us clear , bright and with no particals or haziness.
If you are vegan or you are vegetarian you would want to avoid any wine that has gelatin as part of the fining process,similarly if you are vegan you would want to avoid any wine that uses casein or egg whites as part of the fining process. Although casein, gelatin, isinglass and egg whites are natural they are not necessary compenents to the wine making process.
However, there has be a noticable increase in more wine makers finishing their wines or fining their wines with products that are vegan or vegetarian friendly.
How do you know if wine is vegan
The easiest way to tell if winery or wine maker has used vegan or vegetarian products is to look for the symbol at the back of the wine bottle you have selected.
There are different symbols for different countries, they may be green or black. These symbols will represent definite certifying bodies that certify vegan and vegetarian wines.
What does the vegan wine symbol look like?
When visiting us in store at one of our O'Briens stores, you can find and identify vegetarian and vegan wines by searching for our vegan and vegetarian symbols.
Simiarly when visiting us online at www.obrienswine.ie you will have the ability to filter your search to eliminate other wines that are not vegan or vegetarian. When viewing information on a choosen wine the displayed symbols on the right will also be displayed to highlight that the wine is vegan or vegetarian.
A Little About Lynne
Lynne Coyle MW is O’Briens Wine Director and sources and selects our wine and Champagne range. One of only 420 Masters of Wine worldwide, she has dedicated her career to the food and drinks industry. Lynne also writes, judges at international wine competitions, is a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Certified Educator and makes her own wines in Spain.