Did you know that almost all wines are not vegan?! I, like many of you, did not know this in the early days of my transition to a vegan lifestyle. However, the facts, like so many in the realm of food and drink production, are not transparent. Do we really think wine manufacturers want consumers to know that their product is filtered through gelatin (from fish bladders), bone marrow, or casein (derived from milk)?! Frankly, they do not! Although, it is clear that wines are filtered with "fining agents," the fact that these agents are largely animal derived substances is not clear. Which is why everyone, regardless of being plant-based or not, needs to push for transparency in food labeling and production methods. But thats a story for another post :)
So whats a a good ole' fashioned wino like myself supposed to do?! Well luckily, for many of us who enjoy a glass of wine, there are many vegan wines readily available! Living in NYC, there is no shortage of fancy wine shops, liquor stores, and bodegas that sell wine, but even if you don't live in a large metropolitan area, ordering wine online is easier than ever before.
Most wine shops are knowledgeable on vegan wines and can direct you towards wines that use alternative fining agents. However, if you can't find confirmed and labeled vegan wines, look for those that are biodynamic and/or kosher. These types of wines are typically vegan, even if they are not labeled as such.
One of my all time favorite vegan wines is a beautiful French organic and biodynamic, 100% Carignan red wine. La Mariole is smooth, complex, a bit earthy and has a unique low-sulphur flavor. Its Michelin starred and affordable at about $22 a bottle.
If you are more of white wine fan, I adore the German Riesling from Nein Lives. And no, its just not because of the adorable cat on the label ;) Nein Lives is a fresh and lively wine made from healthy Riesling grapes that are physiologically ripe, but still relatively low in sugar. Although it is not labeled as vegan, my local wine store, assured me the winery does not use any animal related fining substances, plus its affordable at about $10 a bottle.
Now fellow Veg-A-Saurs go forth and conquer vegan wines with confidence! If you ever find yourself in a pickle, the vegan wine, beer, and liquor resource, Barnivore, has an excellent list of vegan friendly wines. So pour yourself a glass, grab a good book, and enjoy!
What are your favorite vegan friendly wines? Share in the comments below.
Photos by @genery, GeneRosatiJr.com.