Whether you are a new vegan or a seasoned veteran, the last thing you want to worry about is your adult beverage of choice. The last thing vegans think to avoid is wine. After all, it’s just made with grapes, right? Surprisingly, a lot of wines are actually not vegan! But here is how you can tell which ones are okay to consume according to your diet.
What? It's not?
Some wines have more ingredients than just grapes. A lot of wine companies use "fining agents" to make their wine appear clear, specifically with white wine, and make it taste smoother without needing to age, so they can go from the barrel to the shelf in even less time. The fining agents can include animal products like bone marrow, fish oil, gelatin, and other animal products.
Help! What will I drink now?
Don't worry, you might still be able to turn to your favorite red while out with the girls! Some companies "fine" their wine with non-animal products, usually derived from clay, charcoal or carbon. While traditional Italian wineries would never dream of putting an unfiltered, unfined wine on the shelves, some companies think otherwise. In fact, unfiltered wines are becoming increasingly popular, especially throughout the United States. As the natural eating movement stays in the spotlight, rest assured that it will become easier to find your favorite wines unrefined. The FDA and other food and drink regulators are taking steps to make it more of a nuisance for companies to use fining agents. For example, wineries in Australia and New Zealand are now required state on labels that their wines use animal products and possible allergens.
Okay, so how can I tell which wines are vegan?
Thanks to the natural eating trend, companies now use the fact that wine is unfiltered as a selling point. This means it is not difficult at all to find vegan wines! If you want to know specific brands, PETA and Barnivore are great resources, both offering lists of vegan wines and vegan companies. If you still are not sure, grab a bottle of Chardonnay, as they are most often unfined.
Now that the panic has subsided, get your label-reading glasses out and head to a store like JJ Buckley Fine Wines to find your new favorite wine or revisit a classic. Invite the crew over for a night in or relax in a hot bath with a book. Just don't forget the vegan vino!