Isn’t wine just made with grapes anyway?
Well, yes of course but a lot of wines are processed using non-vegan clarifying agents, particularly egg whites, milk derivatives or even protein from fish bladders. The process of making a wine is basically converting the sugars in the grape juice into alcohol, and what happens is that after the yeast eats all the sugar you get left with a liquid that has hazy particles in it. Because we consumers like our wine to be clear, winemakers use a protein in the wine – (egg, or sometimes a protein found in milk, fish) and this binds on to the hazy particles which then drop to the bottom of the wine leaving the end product all shiny and clear. This process of clarification is called fining and it is why some wines aren’t vegan, although all the fining residue is removed prior to bottling.
Look for unfiltered wines – they’ll be vegan. Look out for the vegan label too. Wines that have minimal intervention are often vegan. Barnivore is an excellent website if you want to check any product you’re unsure of. Please remember that if a wine says it is organic – it does not mean it is vegan.