Have you ever wondered what the difference between a vegan wine and a non-vegan wine is? Isn’t wine made from grapes!? It’s all to do with the filtering process…
In the process of making wine, a step towards the end is clarification - or fining and filtering – removing all that hazy, gunky sediment that lingers after the juice has been crushed, pressed and fermented. As we are dealing with liquids, the best way to achieve this is to use a substance that will capture these leftover particles and force them to the bottom of the tank, making the removing process a piece of cake, or to combine with the sediment to allow them to dissipate organically.
However, typically these substances aren’t exactly friendly to the vegan diet. The most common products used include gelatine, isinglass (fish bladders), egg whites, casein (a milk-derived protein) and milk itself.
Therefore, to make a wine vegan it takes a bit more effort. Options are to use clay or carbon-based clarifying agents, or to let the sediment settle naturally – a practise that is used in a lot of organic/natural wines.
If you fancy a bottle of something guilt-free and vegan, we’ve done a bit of research and provide an array of vegan-friendly options. Here’re a few of our favourites…
- Tillingham Col ’18 A delicious Pet Nat from Sussexes very own Tillingham Wine Company. This has a fine bead to it, a toasty aroma with apple on the palette and a citrus-y, acidic backbone. Unfined and unfiltered – this is hazy and funky, delicious and crisp.
- Arndorfer Gruner Veltliner 2017 Filtered, so clear and clean yet still vegan friendly. There is a touch of barrel-aged softness coming through, offset by lively acidity. An Austrian classic.
- Lirondo 2018 A delicious Verdejo orange wine from Rueda, Spain. The vineyard, named after the viticulturists father, is a certified organic vineyard and the wine is left unfined and unfiltered. On the nose you get a whiff of brioche and ripe baking apples, followed by a full bodied mouth-feel and a fresh minerality on the palette.
- Volcanico Pais A Los Vinateros Bravos 2018 A organically created Pais/Cinsault blend from Chile, this is a little funky on the nose with some spiciness coming through from ageing in oak barrels. Clear and light, it’s best served slightly chilled.