Veganism has become increasingly popular in recent years, and with it, so has the demand for vegan-friendly products, including wine. If you're a vegan or simply looking to reduce your consumption of animal products, you may be wondering what exactly is in your vegan wine.
Firstly, let's clarify what makes a wine vegan. While wine is made from grapes, it often goes through a fining process in which animal-derived substances such as egg whites, gelatine, or fish bladder are added to clarify the wine by removing impurities. This process, unfortunately, renders the wine unsuitable for vegans.
However, many winemakers now use vegan-friendly fining agents such as bentonite clay, activated charcoal, or pea protein, which don't involve animal products. These methods result in wines that are free of animal-derived substances and suitable for vegans.
But what else goes into vegan wine? Let's take a closer look.
Grapes: The Foundation of Vegan Wine The grapes used to make vegan wine are, of course, an essential component. Organic and biodynamic grapes are a popular choice for vegan winemakers. They are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, which are harmful to the environment and potentially harmful to human health. Organic and biodynamic farming practices prioritize soil health and the use of natural methods to protect the vines from pests and disease.
Yeast: The Magical Ingredient in Winemaking Yeast is a crucial element in winemaking. It's the microorganism responsible for converting grape juice into wine by consuming the natural sugars in the grapes and producing alcohol. In vegan winemaking, yeast is typically sourced from natural, wild sources rather than lab-grown yeast. Natural yeast strains are believed to contribute to the wine's unique character and terroir.
Sulphites: To Use or Not to Use? Sulphites are naturally occurring compounds in wine, but they can also be added as a preservative to prevent spoilage and oxidation. Some vegans avoid sulphites due to concerns about the potential health risks. While it's possible to make wine without sulphites, it's challenging to ensure the wine's stability and longevity without them. Vegan winemakers may choose to use minimal amounts of sulphites to maintain the wine's quality.
Packaging: Bottle or Box? Finally, let's consider the packaging. While the contents of the bottle are the most crucial aspect of vegan wine, the packaging can also be a consideration. Glass bottles are the traditional choice, but they are heavy and require more energy to transport. Lightweight, recyclable packaging such as Tetra Pak or bag-in-box options are becoming increasingly popular.
In conclusion, vegan wine is made using natural, vegan-friendly fining agents and sourced from organic or biodynamic grapes. Natural yeast strains and minimal amounts of sulphites may also be used. The packaging can be an additional consideration, with lightweight, recyclable options becoming more popular.
If you're looking for vegan wine, look for wines labelled as vegan or contact the winery directly to inquire about their production methods. Enjoy a glass of vegan wine knowing that it's made with animal welfare and environmental sustainability in mind.