Wine is just a product of grapes and yeast so why wouldn’t it be vegan? It’s all down to the processes of turning those grapes into delicious wine.
Whether or not a wine is vegan doesn’t come into consideration for everyone, but it’s a very important question for some. You may rightfully be wondering, why wouldn’t a wine be vegan – it’s just grape juice, right? But the processes that turn those grapes into wine mean that the products are not suitable for everyone.
After fermentation wine will be cloudy due to tiny floating particles of sediment like grape skins or yeast. To clarify the wine and make it look clearer, as we aesthetically like it to be, it can go through a process called fining. During this process a substance is added to the wine that will flush out all those elements that make it look hazy or affect its flavour, aroma or colour.
In traditional winemaking, the fining agents are not vegan. They use egg white, milk, a dairy protein called casein or isinglass (a gelatin derived from fish). If they use egg white or milk it should be listed on the label, but if they use isinglass you may never know as current regulations do not require wineries to list fining agents on their labels. Although these substances are not present in the final product, it has been in contact with them so is no longer suitable for vegans.
There are vegan alternatives such as using bentonite clay, which works the same way as traditional fining agents, or gravity filtration, which is a fancy way of saying the winemakers wait until the sediment naturally settles and then remove it. A practice which takes a level of patience most of us could only dream of.
In reality lots of wines are vegan friendly but it can be difficult to identify them. As we said, legally wineries don’t have to list fining agents on their labels. Additionally, the certification for vegan-friendly wine is very expensive so some businesses choose not to invest in it. As a small business we’re focused on sourcing wines that aren’t just nice canned wines but the best. We’re proud to say that all of Canned Wine Co.’s award-winning canned wines are vegan-friendly.
The number of vegan wines available is increasing year on year and retailers are becoming much more helpful at listing wines as vegan on their sites. So even if a wine doesn’t have a Suitable for Vegans label on it, it’s worth checking with the retailer because you may be missing out on an undiscovered favourite!
Buy our award-winning canned wines for vegan-friendly treat.
Written by Niamh Harkett