After my previous article on vegan beers, I thought it would be a good idea to venture into wine territory. Who would even think of vegan or non-vegan wine? Isn’t this made from fermented grapes? Then, how do animal products come into this?
Many wine producers use animal products during the filter process of the wine, which is important for flavor and especially the color. The fining agent is suspended in the vat; later, the wine will filter it out. Similar to beer, for wine filtering isinglass and gelatin are among the animal products that are used for this process.
Luckily for us vegans, though, there are plenty of wine producers who prefer plant-based (and also mineral) fining agents.
What is the purpose of a fining process?
To prevent the wine from becoming hazy or cloudy after bottling, fining is needed. It also removes bitter flavors and hydrogen sulfide. So, fining basically clarifies the wine.
Is the Filtering Process Necessary?
Yes and no, that all depends.
Why not? Most young wines will obtain clarity within months, if they are left in good conditions. So, a fining process is not really that necessary.
Then why would the answer still be yes?
The fining process saves time and money. Instead of waiting for months until the wine is ready for consumption, fining it speeds up the process. That wine will also be cheaper for the consumer.
Animal Products For Fine Wine?
Besides, gelatin (which is made from boiled bones, cartilage and animal skin) and isinglass (dried fish bladders), there are also other animal products that may or may not be used as a fining agent.
Egg whites, casein (milk protein), blood (I know, blood in wine …?), bone marrow, fish oil, or even shell fish fibers are other alternatives that can do the job.
Plant-Based Filtering Process
Mineral and plant-based fining agents could be the following: plant casein, silica gel, carbon, limestone, bentonite clay, kaolin clay, and vegetable plaques. They sound a little better to me 😉
If silica gel sounds familiar, you’ve probably seen it on small white packets that are often added in medicine flasks. Those packets are always printed with “DO NOT EAT”. Silica gel, however, is not toxic, and the main concern of these warnings is regarding a choking hazard, hence, “DO NOT EAT”.
Limestone is probably the best known of all these mentioned fining agents, and completely natural, but what is kaolin clay? Kaolin clay is also known as white clay or China clay, and it is made up by the mineral kaolinite. This clay sometimes has different hues, depending on the mineral content of the areas where it is found, but the kaolinite mineral in its purest form is white.
Best Vegan Wines
All right, that’s what we’re here for, aren’t we? 😉 Which ones are considered the best vegan wines? Let me share a list here, and then I will add some store bought wines as well.
- Toro Loco Organic Red (Spanish) – bold berry character
- Saint Auréol Corbieres (French) – from the Languedoc, dark and spicy, with liquorice, rosemary, and red and black berries
- Bellissima Proseco (Italian) – aromatic and elegant, with delicate scents of green apple and freshly baked bread.
- Zalze Shiraz Grenache Viognier (South African) – robust and fragrant with just a hint of smoke
- Morrisons Fleurie (French) – from the Beaujolais region, fresh and floral
- Plessis-Duval Saumur-Champigny (French) – from the Loire region, made from Cabernet Francs
- Coffele Valpolicella (Italian) – light cherry-fruited red wine
- The Hedonist Shiraz (Australian) – distinctive moreish glossiness, very savoury
And the list goes on … There are many more. In fact, as a vegan, I am not that worried about finding vegan wine. There is plenty to choose from. Most of the ones I mentioned here, however, I do not always find at the local store. So, the following are also good options.
- Casillero del Diablo
- Concha y Toro
- Alta Cima
- For more, please check the list on http://www.barnivore.com/wine
- Bodega Vinecol
- Asado Club
- Doña Paula
- Domaine Bousquet
- And more
- Alma Rosa
- Alta Maria
- And more
- Alpha Box and Dice
- Amelia Park
- And many more
On http://www.barnivore.com/wine you can research any wine you’d like. The list will indicate whether the chosen product is vegan friendly or not.
Share a Bottle of White or Red?
So, in conclusion, although many wines do go through the animal-based fining process, there is a still a wide choice of vegan wines available. Some vegans do not drink alcohol, I do like a glass of wine now and then, and I also enjoy a cold beer on a hot summer day. With so much information available and with a rise in companies who are now producing more vegan friendly products, getting a nice bottle of wine shouldn’t be a problem 😉
22 thoughts on “Best Vegan Wines”
What an interesting article. As you wrote, I had not idea that there could be anything but a vegan wine. I have a nephew who is vegan and who brokers high end wines around the world. He has never mentioned this to me. I am wondering if he knows about this part of the wine making process. Is the use of an animal based fining process common? Looking at the few number of wines in the US that you have cited, I am thinking that it is. Thanks for this information.
I also found few vegan wines in the US. I think that many vegans may still not be aware of the wine fining process, but I can’t be sure of that. The use of animal-based products is nothing new; in fact, it has been done for quite a while, and it is still common. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of vegan wines around, which is good to know 🙂
I have to admit I have always struggled with the idea of being Vegan and avoiding all animal products. I just can’t see how it is possible but it is a lifestyle choice at the end of the day.
Whilst I have sampled a vegan sausage roll which actually was not bad I never for one second believed that this would apply to alcohol as well and wine no less.
When you think of wine it brings visions of someone trampling on a vat of red grapes and you don’t actually think of animal products being used at all. It really is quite interesting to see in your article the regional variations of the different vegan wines that you can have (my personal favourite is South African).
Is there any visible difference in taste between a vegan wine and normal wine? what do you think? I am certainly open to trying this for myself.
Avoiding animal products isn’t so hard; as with everything, after a while it becomes a way of life 😉
I never found a difference in taste in vegan or non-vegan wines. They taste the same, I think. I had non-vegan wine before I knew about this and there isn’t really a difference, except for the knowledge that animal products were used. Some vegans still drink any wine, and others only drink the wines that had a plant-based fining process.
I also like South African wine, and I buy a lot of Chilean wine 🙂
Thanks for discussing how vegan commercial wines are filtered. I was shocked that animal hides are being used to hasten the process.
We make wines from rice, cassava, bananas and we always wait for the natural processes which take three or more months.
It’s amazing to know there are many ways in processing wines to its quality look and taste. Is there is scientific research to illuminate things on these processes and ensure safety for all consumers?
The wine you make sounds interesting. I would love to try it. Is it a family business? I prefer wine that is fined with a natural process. 🙂 Do you sell your wine commercially?
Before reading your article, I didn’t know there is a concept of vegan wines. You kind of widened my horizon, so I like it.
For the plant-based process, some of them are used for other products that we use in daily life, and I didn’t know they could also be used in the wine filtering process. I think people are being creative and shaping our wine-drinking world in a good positive direction. For example, kaolin clay is used in many cosmetic products to absorb the oils from our faces. Many clay-like masks use Kaolin clays too, just for your reference.
One question here! Is there a big difference in flavor between the normal wine and vegan wine? I would love to try some from the list you provided in this article.
Thank you for the interesting facts about kaolin clay! I also learned something new today 🙂
In my opinion, there is no difference in taste between vegan or non-vegan wines. I had non-vegan wines before I knew about this and regardless of which fining process was used, the flavor is still incredible.
This is quite a great post that I found very insightful and also helpful too. Getting the very simpler means to securing a vegan active wine is just always a difficult thing to access. Thankfully you have shared this here. I must say this is worthy to see here. Thanks so much for sharing here. These vegan wines are welcomed here and I’d check some of them out
Thank you for your comment! I’m glad my article was useful to you 🙂
Thank you for your post. It is useful for me. I am wine-lover and have a cup of wine daily. But I drink only California wines. I always want to expand my taste and try wines from all over the world, but never take time to do the research.
Here comes your article. I love your best vegan wine list, which is the one I dream about. It indeed contain wines from all over the world. I am going to try one from each continent first. Your suggested website is very helpful and I bookmarked it and will do some detailed research from it.
Of course, Wines from Australia is always my dream one. I drink wines from Australia several times and I love them. This is the first one in my list.
I also like wines from California, and Australia also has some great wine. Besides that, Chilean and South African wine is also excellent. There is so much to try out 😉
Thank you for your comment!
Oh, the crazy looks I got back on the East Coast while discussing vegan wines. Admittedly though when it first happened I asked a vegan who was drinking wine, if it was vegan wine. It didn’t go over well.
I’ve been on the west coast so long, these types of things are just normal conversation but, I’m glad you bring it to light for the masses.
Plus, I had no idea that Cassillero Del Diablo is a vegan wine! It’s been a while since I’ve had a bottle, it’s one of my favorite Chilean wines.
The number one on your list sounds right up my alley though, the Toro Loco red. I really do love Spanish wines.
Spanish red wines are really good, very strong in taste, I like that. You made me laugh when you told me that it didn’t go down well when you asked the vegan if he was drinking vegan wine 😉 lol
Casillero del Diablo is great! I honestly love Chilean wines, they’re the ones I buy the most.
I honestly was not aware there was a niche for vegan wines. That is really interesting…but I think the idea of a vegan wine could potentially be healthier since it uses more natural fining or refining processes. My question is how different is it than wine making throughout history? I would assume we didn’t always have the ability to use gelatin…so did they use more of the limestone, silica, etc.? this is just more of a curious question. Thank you for your article. I will need to check these out and see if the price is comparable to regularly produced wines.
Traditionally, wine makers used to let the wine mature in barrils. That took a few months, so it was more time consuming, but that process didn’t need isinglass or gelatin. The use of these animal products as fining agents was introduced to speed up the fining process and save time and money.
Glad to know the vegan world is getting Great attention and more folks are adopting this lifestyle daily. First we have vegan foods , vegan beers and vegan boots ( foot wears). I am enjoying this trend.
What other vegan products can you recommend?
I am more fascinated by the fact that the vegan movement is driven by love for life and respect for nature and this has given rise to a creative way of alternatives.
I am quite optimistic that new revolutionary products will emerge from this well meaning practice.
The vegan wine is so healthy and tasty and the entire process so tantalizing!
Thank you once again for this classic. I enjoyed your review of the vegan beer which i was sipping while reading the stolen girl on my way in search of pearls.
Practically everything you touch turns to GOLD.
I’m loving it here. Looking forwarded ansciously to your next project.
I am also optimistic and hopeful that new revolutionary products will come from the vegan movement. So many new foods have already come out on the market. There are vegan shoes and sandals, and more 😉
Thank you again for your comment and for your support! See you soon 🙂
This is another amazing one Christine. After reading your Article on Vegan Beer, here we are again on Vegan Wine. It is very interesting to know that Wine can also be filtered with plant-based agents and mineral. Quite recently I have been redirecting my diet to fibre and it has not been that easy. Though you didn’t mention Germany, getting some bottles of Vegan Wine shouldn’t be difficult.
Germany has some good wines too, very true. I have tasted some great German wines! 🙂 On barnivore.com you can check which ones are vegan friendly.
Thank you for your comment!
Well, this is new to me. I never knew that animals were involved in the making of wine. Blood in wine sounds like something out of a vampire movie. The other “vegan” fining alternatives do sound much better. Does the vegan alternative have a different taste than the regular wine? Has anyone compared the two in an experiment by fining the same wine using different methods?
I don’t think that it tastes any differently. Before I knew about this, I accidentally had non-vegan wine and in my opinion there is no difference in taste. Your experiment, however, sounds like a good idea. I’m not sure if any winery has tried that, but it would be interesting to find out.
I also thought of vampires when I wrote “blood in wine” 😉
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