What is a vegan wine?
Aren’t all wines vegan? What animal-based products are normally used in wine production? How do we know whether a wine is suitable for vegans? Are vegan wines organic? In the following article we answer these and other questions.
A vegan wine is produced in such a way that no animal-based products have been involved at all. Many consumers believe wine simply comes about from the interaction between the grape must and yeasts, and therefore animal products are not involved, yet that is far from the truth! Although nearly all wines are suitable for vegetarians, not all of them are right for vegans.
What labels certify that a wine is vegan?
A private institution, the European Vegetarian Union, is the one which supplies the most commonly-found certification for vegan wine. This label, with the stem of a plant in the shape of a V on a yellow background, guarantees that no product with any connection to animals has been used and that either the wine has not been clarified or else has been by making use of a substance that’s vegetable or mineral in origin.
In parallel, there’s the Vegan trademark, an international endorsement originating in Britain, supported by The Vegan Society since 1990; it operates as a sworn statement signed by those running a winery, whereby they guarantee that animal derivatives have not been used. At present, more than 60,000 products throughout the world carry this highly-regarded mark, including clothing, cosmetics, household articles and naturally food and drink.
Another certification body for vegan wine is Sir Vegan. Also a private company and created by CCL Certification, it specialises in certifying food products and is known for applying rigorous standards.
How do you know if a wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians?
There’s no specific label for vegetarian wines and neither is it obligatory to specify on the label the type of clarifying agent used in producing wine, which means that the simplest way of finding a wine suitable for vegetarians to drink is to look for the vegan sign on bottles or be guided by lists provided by trusted shops and outlets, which have confirmed with producers or distributors that no animal-based item has been used in producing their wines. Vinissimus offers a comprehensive list of wines suitable for vegans.
Are vegan wines organic?
Although it’s not unusual to find labels indicating organic and vegan wines alongside each other, it’s worth noting that a vegan wine is not necessarily an organic product and that wines found in one category don’t automatically fit into another. It’s important to remember that an organic wine complies with a series of measures in support of the environment both in the vineyard and the winery, going far beyond the utilisation of certain clarifiers.
Is any type of wine always suitable for vegans?
No, there isn’t a wine that can generally be considered appropriate for vegans. The use or non-use of animal-based clarifiers is a decision made by each winery and doesn’t relate to any particular wine type, but rather to an individual commitment to reach out to a certain group of consumers. It’s true to say that when looking in the sections of organic wines or natural wines, there’s more likelihood of finding vegan-friendly wines.