Is wine vegan? Well, vegan wine is certainly easy enough to find, and in a perfect world every brand would be vegan. No food involves a simpler production process. Just add some yeast to grape juice, give it time to ferment, and you’ve got wine.
Unfortunately, unless you give your homemade wine plenty of time to settle, it will contain sediment from the grapes. Commercial wineries don’t want sediment, but they also don’t want to wait around before starting the next batch. So many winemakers speed things up by using an assortment of sticky animal ingredients to glom onto particulates in the wine, so they can quickly be filtered out. This practice is called fining.
During filtering, the fining ingredients are almost entirely removed from the wine along with the particulates. But this practice still offers abundant cause for disgust. Additionally, the use of non-vegan fining ingredients supports industries that exploit animals.
Common Fining Ingredients
- Isinglass (from fish bladders)
- Gelatin (from boiled cow or pig body parts)
- Albumin (egg whites)
- Casein (animal milk protein)
Fortunately, many winemakers use either vegan fining ingredients, or they skip the fining practice entirely by giving the wine time to settle before decanting it into bottles.
Annoyingly, winemakers do not disclose fining ingredients on the label. But luckily, you can use the Internet to look up the status of most of the top brands. Just visit Barnivore, which has researched and cataloged vegan alcohol of all types. If you encounter a wine not listed in Barnivore’s database, you can email the vineyard and ask.
Popular Brands of Vegan Wine
If you don’t have time to visit Barnivore, you can simply commit a few top vegan brands to memory. All of these brands are widely available at groceries and liquor stores.