You’re a vegan and a wine lover? You may know this already, but not all wine is vegan – animal based substances are commonly used in making wine. Read on for more information and tips on where to find the best vegan wines you can enjoy without compromising your morals.

What is vegetarian friendly or vegan wine?

First we have to know that both conventional and organic wine makers use animal based products during production to clear and fine the wine, to keep it from becoming cloudy or to remove bad flavors.

The fining agent acts as a kind of a magnet and collects the unwanted matter in the wines. The then clear wine is moved off the sediment into a clean tank. Since the wine is filtered at the time of bottling no traces of the fining agents are left in the bottled wine.

For vegans and strict vegetarians this is still too much. The definition of veganism rules out all use of animal-based ingredients, regardless of if the animal suffered, or if the animal based ingredient can be still found in the end product.

Some non-vegan but commonly used fining agents are:

  • egg whites,
  • egg albumin,
  • casein (milk protein),
  • gelatin (derived from animal bones),
  • isinglass (derived from fish),
  • chitin/chitosan (derived from the shells of crabs or lobsters) and
  • blood (used in some Mediterranean countries but is not allowed in the U.S. or the EU)

Vegan wines either don’t use fining agents at all, letting the wine clear itself over a longer period of time, or they use vegan fining agents based on clay or earth.

Some vegan fining agents are:

  • bentonite clay,
  • diatomaceous earth,
  • carbon,
  • kaolin.

How to find vegan wines:

If you are shopping for vegan wines in the supermarket or the off licence, the best and simplest trick is to look for the word “vegan” or “unfiltered” on the wine bottle. You’ll notice there is not so much variety in vegan wines in a normal supermarket, especially if you’d like to buy a vegan organic wine.

A better tip is to look for vegan wines online. There are many great wine shops online, and some will even have a special filter for vegan wines, making your search simpler. The best choice are shops that sell organic wines, as most of these smaller online wine shops have understood what being a vegan means and do their best to cater for exactly that audience.

If you’d like to know more, please visit my website (the link is below) for more information on vegan wines, organic wines and tips on where find a good selection of them online.