You are starting to see it more often - wines labelled Vegan. What does that even mean? How can wine be vegan?
Well, after the grapes have been fermented, they are then filtered; a process called fining. If this process doesn’t occur, wines could appear cloudy and could contain sediment. Most people would not enjoy a wine like that. So, commercial wineries are adding fining agents that are actually made from an assortment of sticky animal ingredients.
Isinglass (from fish bladders)
Gelatin (from boiled cow or pig body parts)
Albumin (egg whites)
Casein (animal milk protein)
There are fortunately many more producers taking a more animal cruelty free approach
to wine making. They are either using vegan fining ingredients or they completely skip
the filtering process and wait for the wines to settle before decanting and bottling.
Here are just a few producers that you can find here in BC:
The Hedonist Shiraz McLaren Vale, Australia
Walter Clappis is a believer in organic and biodynamic farming and this wine, while having all of the gutsy ripe dark fruit you’d want from Aussie shiraz, has a distinctive, moreish glossiness and savoury depths that are great with mushroom.
Kumeu River Village Pinot Gris Auckland, New Zealand
The Brajkovich family is one of the founders of modern New Zealand wine, and they continue to impress with, in this case, an opulent Alsace-inspired pinot gris that mixes roses, baking spice and ripe quince with a spicy stir-fry-happy oiliness of texture.
Meinklang Grüner Veltliner Burgenland, Austria
Austrian white grape variety grüner veltliner has some distinctive savoury flavours (leafy herb, celery salt, white pepper) that pair well with fresh vegetable dishes. This biodynamic example adds lush-but-crisp green apple and pear to the delicious mix.
Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla, Jerez, Spain NV
If the switch from meat and dairy has left you with a craving for umami that can only be partly sated by mushrooms, soy and nutritional yeast, dry sherry is here to help, this breezy light classic from Sanlúcar offering salted-nut savouriness and a whiff of the sea.
If you are interested in knowing which wines are Vegan-friendly, you can check out Barnivore at http://www.barnivore.com/ for an extensive list of possibilities.
Enjoy a cruelty-free wine today!