Statistics from the Vegan Society from 2016 show that there are around half a million vegans in the UK, and this figure is rising. When many people make the decision to switch to a vegan lifestyle they have no idea so many foods contain animal products, and the same can be said for drinks. Most wines are not vegan. This comes as a shock to many but why is this the case? What makes most off-limits to vegans?
Why are most Wines Non-Vegan?
Most wines go through a process of clarification which is known as ‘fining’. This process usually involves animal-based products such as casein, which is made from milk or egg whites. The fining process removes cloudiness from wine and ensures they are clear to drink, with no sediments or similar. High quality white wines and some sparkling wines use a product called isinglass in the fining process. This is a fish by-product and once again, unsuitable for anyone on a vegan diet. Fining agents are not present in the final bottled wine but they were used in the process, which is unacceptable on a true vegan diet.
Tips for Finding Vegan Wines
The rise of veganism in the UK and further afield means there are many vegans wines no available on the market. You can also look out for the following information on any bottle, which should be a clear indicator they are fine to drink as a vegan:
- Unfined or unfiletered wines are 100% vegan
- Wines filtered using sterile filters such as ceramic filters are vegan
- Wines using cross-low filters are vegan
- Some wines may be filtered using bentonite but always check with the producer
- Organic wines are not always vegan, you must check with the producer
There area number of curated lists online which show which wines are vegans and which aren’t. Like many vegans find with food though, you have to become an expert label reader to ensure you’re enjoying only 100% suitable wines!