Vegan Wine?! – It’s all grapes isn’t it…
Wine, it’s made from grapes, so it’s got to be vegan, right? Wrong. So what makes wine vegan, and is it different from other wines? Well, you’re about to find out, but first, it’s worth touching on how far vegan wine has come over the years. The rise in popularity of veganism has been quite staggering, with approximately 600,000 vegans in the UK alone in 2019 (according to the Vegan Society) so producers from bakers to wineries are finding ways to become vegan friendly and that number is now estimated to be over 1 million people.
But first, a little history - rewind 10 years, vegan wine was pretty niche, and a bit of a novelty. Instead of adapting the non-vegan parts of the wine making process, producers just completely left it out. The result was a depressingly murky liquid littered with yeast molecules, that looks pretty bad, and tasted even worse. As a result it was siphoned off from the rest of the herd. Wine shops would give it it’s own section, and might as well have written “Don’t do this to yourself” on the section sign. Thankfully with the rise in veganism this has all changed; so how are winemakers doing this to create a vegan wine that isn’t a sorry plonk?
The difference in a vegan and non-vegan wine all comes down to how the wine is filtered. Everyone loves a clear, alluring wine, so filtering is important. Traditional filtering might use non-vegan products that act as fining agents such as egg whites, gelatine, bone marrow, milk, and fish membranes (don’t worry! None of these impart any flavour on the wine). With the rise of veganism, and a general increased interest in environmentalism, winemakers have come up with alternative methods to filter wines that don’t use animal products, including limestone, clay, vegetables, and plants (again, nothing is imparted on the wine itself. That minerality you’re tasting is direct from the vine my friend!).
The good news for all of us, vegan or not, is that both modern vegan and non-vegan wines can be absolutely delicious, and I for one, wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between the two. Luckily, you don’t have to guess as most wines will be labelled as vegan or vegetarian if they are indeed so. All of this has opened the door for vegan producers to return to the main shelves. More than half the collection at Vintner is vegan. You’ve probably enjoyed more vegan wines than non-vegan recently, and now you’re aware, there’s no need to change tact. Here are some of the very best examples…
Whether you’re vegan, carnivore, fruitarian, or something else I can’t spell, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy delicious wine! We at Vintner just so happen to have plenty of vegan of wines, here’s some of my favourites that are well worth a whirl, vegan or not….
If you’re a fan of all things dark, spicy and swirling, the Cascadia Syrah is just brilliant. Seriously sexy, dark fruits are everywhere, and if you’re looking for a ‘staying in’ wine, this is it.
Juicy Pinot Noir
The James Bryant Hill Pinot Noir is our star of the show, and this best selling wine just so happens to be vegan! For anyone who tells me they don’t like Pinot Noir as it’s a bit ‘thin’ and ‘wimpish’ I give them a bottle of this, and they soon change their minds. The perfect wine for dinner, as everyone loves it!
The Terra de Asorei is a Spanish white that perfectly balances fruity freshness, rich indulgence and refreshing vibrancy. It’s a peachy delight, perfect for a little pre-drink, or a large glass after a long day.
Now, I’m not actually a huge Sauvignon Blanc fan, but the Circumstance Sauvignon Banc has an edge! The tropical flavours dance right out the glass, so grab a bottle and share with someone you love.