What makes a wine vegan? Ask Decanter

Are you seeing more wines marketed as vegan? What means that a wine is – or isn’t – suitable for vegans?

What makes a wine vegan? Ask Decanter

Given that wine is the product of grapes and yeast, some may assume that all wines would be appropriate for vegans – those who do not consume any kind of animal product – but this isn’t always the case.

Wine bars and retailers have started to market some wines as vegan friendly in response to the growth of veganism in several countries, including the UK and US. According to The Vegan Society, 600,000 people in the UK were vegan in 2018.

Veganuary‘ is increasingly part of the New Year calendar, slotting into the post-festive detox trend.


See also: Is wine gluten free? Ask Decanter

See also: Sulphites in wine – friend or foe?


Vegan wine

It is often some traditional fining agents that can make a wine unsuitable for vegans.

Egg whites or casein (a protein found in milk) can be used to remove tiny particles of sediment in a wine that cannot be removed by filtration.

However, other ways of doing this are becoming more popular.

‘Traditional fining products that were egg/fish/milk derived have probably – we think – moved on to a lot of vegetable-based products,’ said Kristin Syltevik, of the Oxney Organic Estate in East Sussex, England, speaking in 2018.

Other animal products used in wine production may include beeswax (used to seal bottles) and agglomerated corks (which use milk-based glues).

In reality, many wines are vegan friendly. However, it can be difficult to tell. Regulations in the EU and US do not currently require wineries to list fining agents on labels.

More wine retailers and producers have started to help consumers make a choice by highlighting which of their wines are vegan friendly.

Majestic Wine told Decanter.com last year that it defined vegan wine as those that ‘will not have been fined, filtered or come into contact with anything derived from an animal or dairy source’.

Decanter’s Tina Gellie also shows in Weekday Wines which wines are labelled vegan, as well as those that are organic and biodynamic.

Three vegan labelled wines to try: