Wine Hunter

What Makes Vegan Wine, Vegan?

Wine. Photographed by Maksym Kaharlytskyi. Image via Unsplash

You’ve heard of organic, preservative free and low ABV. Now, wine drinkers are trying to source vegan-friendly wines.

Today, more than ever, wine drinkers are fermented in a cloud of confusion when it comes to their favourite drop. Until now that is.

So, what is vegan wine? Like all vegan labelled products, vegan wine must not include any animal products within the production process. Instead, vegetable or mineral substitutes are used to refine or clarify the wine.

Working alongside BWS’ Learning Partner, Simon Wilson, we’re here to learn all there is to know about vegan wine and how it may affect your future vegan wine picking.

Why have things like eggs, gelatin and milk proteins traditionally been used in wine making?

During the process of clarifying and stabilising wine, which is also known as fining, agents are added to clarify colour, reduce bitterness and avoid cloudiness, all of which can make the wine seem unappealing in the glass.

How can you tell if the wine you’re buying is vegan?

Unfortunately, vegan wine isn’t always labelled as so. Wines produced after 2003 in Australia will most likely provide an allergy statement such as “produced with egg” or “contains milk product,” however, it’s often in small writing on the back label somewhere. If no explicit information is clearly stipulated on the wine label, it’s often safer to assume the wine is not vegan.

Many producers are calling out their vegan approach now either proudly on the label or on their brand websites also.

Are we seeing vegan wines in all styles now, or just a selected variety? Which ones and why?

As many producers are removing the need for use of animal products as fining agents, you will often find their whole range is available as vegan friendly. From crisp pinot grigio through to light and fresh pinot noir and rich, gutsy shiraz; most varieties would now have a vegan friendly option available.

How does the quality of vegan wine compare to regular wine? 

The quality of the wine is not determined by its vegan nature. The taste of wine is predominantly down to the region, quality of grapes and the skill of the winemaker!

Will you notice any differences in vegan wines?

If a wine is vegan by nature due to having no fining agents used in production, then you may notice some minor sediment or a very slight cloudiness. Otherwise, vegan wine drinkers will also taste a vibrancy of fruit since nothing has been stripped out.

Are there any really good vegan wine producers at the moment people should look out for? Why are they great?

There is a great movement for many producers to produce wines that are both organic and vegan friendly such as the Craftsman organic range, and the Farmhand organic. When it comes to producers, two of my go-tos are Yalumba and Chapel Hill – both take great care of the grapes and require minimal to no fining in the winery.

Why is the vegan market growing, do you see the growth continuing and why?

Many consumers are becoming more conscious and making ethical decisions in all products they consume. Sustainability is a key driver why many consumers will choose to buy a vegan friendly wine to reduce their footprint on the environment. This coupled with the rise of veganism as a dietary choice will continue to see the growth of the vegan wine market and more producers calling it out loudly on their wines.

Top 5 Vegan Wine Picks:

The Vegan Wine Project Shiraz

Be eco-friendly while enjoying The Vegan Wine Project Shiraz. This vegan-friendly beauty blends flavours of wild berries and plum with a touch of chocolate and exotic spices. Soft and silky with fine tannins, the finish is full of lingering fruity notes.

Location: South Australia
Price: $16

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Wild Lands Red Field Blend

Wild Lands Red Field Blend Riverland lives up to its name with its bright and vibrant colour. Sourced from multiple varieties which are hand selected and co-fermented, this vegan-friendly wine is perfect to enjoy with delicious homemade meals.

Location: South Australia
Price: $20

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Yalumba Y Series Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is an Italian white wine style that’s the new kid on the block in the Australian white wine scene. This Yalumba Y Pinot Grigio is full of sass and spice and a great one to match with a wide variety of food styles.

Location: South Australia
Price: $14

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Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial Champagne NV

Bright, fruity and elegant, Moët Chandon Brut Imperial is one of the world’s most loved Champagnes. Popping the cork on a bottle of Moët is the ultimate way to celebrate in style. It also makes the perfect gift for a loved one or host.

Location: Champagne, France
Price: $73

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The Indigo Organic Grape Growers Collective Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromatic and deep red in colour, Indigo Organic Growers Cabernet Sauvignon offers a juicy palate of sweet berry flavours with an earthy underside. Finished with a fine yet firm tannin, this wine is great for pairing with your favourite steak.

Location: Victoria
Price: $20

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