Is wine vegan?
What makes a wine non-vegan?
While wine is often associated with being a plant-based beverage, not all wines are vegan-friendly. The non-vegan aspect of wine comes from the fining process, which is used to clarify and stabilize the wine. Fining agents are added to remove unwanted particles, such as proteins, tannins, and phenolics, that can affect the wine’s appearance and taste. These agents can be derived from animal products, making the wine non-vegan.
Common non-vegan fining agents
Several traditional fining agents used in winemaking are derived from animal sources. Here are some of the most common non-vegan fining agents:
- Isinglass: Made from the swim bladders of fish, isinglass is used to clarify white wines.
- Gelatin: Derived from animal collagen, gelatin is commonly used to clarify red wines.
- Casein: A milk protein, casein is used to clarify and stabilize wines.
- Egg whites: Egg whites are used to remove tannins and clarify wines.
Fortunately, there are several vegan-friendly alternatives to these animal-derived fining agents. Winemakers have been exploring and adopting these alternatives to cater to the growing demand for vegan wines. Some of the vegan fining agents include:
- Bentonite: A type of clay, bentonite is effective in removing proteins and stabilizing wines.
- Activated charcoal: Charcoal made from plant sources can be used to remove impurities from wine.
- Pea protein: Pea protein isolate can be used as a vegan alternative to casein.
- Vegetable-based fining agents: Some winemakers use vegetable-based products, such as potato protein or wheat gluten, to clarify their wines.
Labeling and certification
With the increasing demand for vegan wines, many winemakers are now labeling their products as vegan-friendly. However, it is important to note that not all vegan wines are labeled as such. Some winemakers may choose not to go through the certification process or may not be aware of the vegan status of their wines.
For consumers looking for vegan wines, it is advisable to look for certifications such as the Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark or the Certified Vegan logo. These certifications ensure that the wine has been independently verified as vegan-friendly.
Statistics and market trends
The demand for vegan wines has been steadily increasing in recent years. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global vegan wine market size was valued at USD 2.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from 2021 to 2028.
This growth can be attributed to various factors, including the rise in veganism and plant-based diets, increased awareness about animal welfare, and the desire for more sustainable and ethical products. As a result, winemakers are adapting to this trend by producing more vegan-friendly wines and clearly labeling them as such.
While not all wines are vegan, there is a growing market for vegan-friendly wines. The use of animal-derived fining agents in winemaking has prompted winemakers to explore and adopt vegan alternatives. Consumers looking for vegan wines can now find a variety of options, and certifications provide assurance of a wine’s vegan status. With the increasing demand for vegan products, the future of vegan wine looks promising.