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Why All the Wine Should (Not) Be Vegan Wine?

Why All the Wine Should (Not) Be Vegan Wine?

These days, producers are obliged to declare everything. The noble reason behind this practice is consumer protection. As a consequence, you even need to put down the “best before” date on imperishable products, such as honey or olive oil.

It wouldn’t surprise anyone if wines started getting an “expiration date”, too. It is not that some of them shouldn’t have those, but these are not the wines we would ever drink anyway. Some are already carrying other “warnings” for consumers such as: “may contain traces of eggs or fish”.

Any trace of fish one could desire associated with their wine, is the one on table in front of them, while pairing a nice glass of Debit with it.

So what on Earth are these warnings for?

Is this stuff made in some canned fish factory or by a manufacturer of fresh egg pasta?

It is neither, but a common practice in commercial winemaking. Of course, nobody adds egg whites, milk protein or gelatine to wine. These are however frequently used binding agents used in the “fining” of the wine. You know, for those winelovers who like their wine to appear clear. Although completely removed during the process, nobody can be 100% certain that some micro particles of these agents won’t end up in a bottle.cow laying field

And for something to be called or classified as vegan, it must be made without the use of any animal derived products. So, can a wine be stable and clear without fish bladders or shells of crustaceans?

It surely can. As a matter of fact, a winemaker could use time itself to work things out. Given enough time, wine will eventually self-clarify. Being heavier than liquid, residual elements will sink to the bottom. Regretfully, not soon enough for many winemakers.

Therefore, for a wine to be called vegan, plant-based products or other alternatives need to be used instead of animal-based agents. Luckily, such agents are also widespread, such as bentonite for example, which is essentially a type of clay with useful absorbent abilities.

Does this mean the wine is vegan then?

It should not. What about fertilizers? Most prominent ones are made from animal-based ingredients. Shouldn’t then the entire process from farming to bottling be vegan-friendly in order to call a wine vegan?

Genuinely vegan wine should only be made from grapes grown in vineyards using natural plant-based fertilizers or none at all, then aged and bottled with natural plant-based agents only.farmer spraying

Does this mean the wine is of higher quality?

Declaration, usually in form of a stamp or sticker on the label, certifies if a wine is indeed vegan. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s any good. But this “consumer protection” does mean we could expect more vegan labelled wines in future.

We asked the winemakers if they had tried using vegan approved agents in the cellar and fertilizers in the vineyard. Many have, in order to compare the wines made using traditional agents with those made using vegan approved agents. Since there was no perceivable difference between the wines, many will switch to natural plant-based agents.

There are already more than a few vegan wines at Wine&More shop, not yet labelled as such. In future, we predict there will be more vegan wines than conventional ones. It is important to remember, vegan wine does not mean organic. We will be addressing this controversial topic soon 😀vegan wine cow and chicken

Nenad Trifunovic
Professional Wine drinker ;)

Moderator of a series of wine workshops and educator of wine course (Wine Reading), promoter of table culture and wine writer, most famous as an author of the most influential Croatian wine blog (vinopija.com).

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