Is Your Wine Really Vegan?

04 APR 2022

There's a growing movement towards plant-based diets all over the world and while one would think that wine is vegan, that may not necessarily be true. The fermented grape juice we all love and cherish traditionally involves a few animal products in the winemaking process. Determining whether or not your wine is vegan is not that simple.

For example, egg whites, casein, gelatin, seafood fiber and other animal-derived products are sometimes used as fining agents--to improve clarity, reduce bitterness, and absorb excess tannins. These don't make it into the bottle, but they've certainly touched your wine, which could be problematic for some vegans.

 

Another layer to consider doesn't involve the wine itself, but could be worth knowing. Some bottles are sealed with beeswax, which doesn't touch the wine but is used in its packaging. Which brings us to the cultivation of the grape itself. Many producers fertilise their wine with animal products and even traditional biodynamic practices include burying a cow horn filled with animal fertiliser in the soil.

 

So, is your wine vegan? The short answer is: it depends.

 

It depends on how animal-free you want your wine to be. Many winemakers have begun to label their wine and openly talk about their processes on their websites or in wine journals. If you see the word "unfined," then you know that animal products have not touched your wine. But if you prefer your wine to be animal-free from grape to glass, then you may have to look beyond the label.