Is wine vegan? Well, vegan wine is certainly easy enough to find. 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 a batch of 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. To speed things up, some winemakers use an assortment of sticky animal ingredients called fining agents. These substances glom onto particulates in the wine, so they can quickly be filtered out.
Filtering almost entirely removes fining agents from the wine. 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 vegan fining ingredients. And others skip the fining practice altogether by giving the wine time to settle before decanting it into bottles.
Annoyingly, winemakers do not disclose fining ingredients on the label. But you can easily go online to check the vegan 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 contact the vineyard and ask—and then forward the response to Barnivore so other vegans will benefit.
Popular Brands of Vegan Wine
If you don’t have time to visit Barnivore, you can simply commit a few widely-distributed vegan brands to memory. These include:
- Charles Shaw from Trader Joe’s (red wines only)
- Frey Vineyards
- Lumos Wine
- Red Truck Wines
- The Vegan Vine