For someone who loves wine as much as I do, dry January simply wasn’t an option. However ‘’Veganuary’’ did make me think about Vegan wines and ponder on which English Wines meet the Vegan seal of approval!
As it turns out many English Wines are in fact Vegan friendly and while some producers highlight this in their marketing, others quietly make Vegan wine without us even realising.
A question we get asked regularly on our English Wine Tours is ‘’why isn’t all wine Vegan?’’. Which is an obvious question considering wine is made from grapes, and therefore you would assume a perfectly acceptable part of a Vegan diet.
But not all wine is Vegan, and it’s in the clarification stage of wine making where the Vegan concept, quite literally gets cloudy!
Wine becomes cloudy after fermentation, which is not how we ”the consumer” like to drink our wine. So to make wine aesthetically appealing wine makers filter out the by-products created from fermentation with something called fining agents.
It’s all a bit sciencey, but quite simply the fining products are added to the wine which attract the unwanted yeast microbes, tartrates and tannins. These stick to the fining products, which then allows them to be filtered out during clarification.
But it’s these fining products which are not always vegan. Traditional fining agents commonly used include isinglass (bladder from fish), casein (from milk), egg albumen, chitin (from crustacean shells) and gelatin (from cow and pig bones and skins).
Filteration claims to remove these finings, but there may be a tiny amount still present when the wine is finished. Eurgh I hear you shout, not quite the ingredients we expect in our glass of vino!!
You’ll be pleased to know that nowadays many producers use non-animal fining products usually bentonite, a form of clay or pea protein. Which genuinely makes me feel happier about my bottle of wine.
Most English wines are now Vegan friendly and have some great green credential too. But it’s a good idea to read the label and do your homework if you follow a strictly Vegan diet.
This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but below are a few of our favourite English Wine Producers who produce Vegan friendly Wine.
However there is a disclaimer on the fact that no one can guarantee there weren’t a few spiders, earwigs, ladybirds and bugs that made it into the wine press!