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What makes a wine 'Vegan'?

With more and more people adopting a vegan lifestyle in the UK over the last few years, “what is vegan wine?” is a question we’re starting to get asked a lot. So we thought we’d try to explain it.

The majority of people are unaware that wine, although made from grapes, may have been made using animal-derived products.
During the winemaking process, the liquid is filtered through substances called “fining agents.” This process is used to remove protein, yeast, cloudiness, “off” flavours and colourings, and other organic particles. Popular animal-derived fining agents used in the production of wine include blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes). So, due to the nature of wine, tiny traces of the animal product can be absorbed, thus making it non-vegan.

It’s important to remember that the likes of albumin and casein are processing agents, not additives to the wine, so they may not be clearly listed on the label. However, it can be clear to spot a wine that hasn’t had a fining agent used in it at all (and is therefore vegan). The term Unfined/Unfiltered is sometimes used on bottles to show that the wine was made without the use of fining agents, so look out for this if you’re on the hunt for a vegan-friendly bottle.
There are several common fining agents that are animal-friendly and are therefore used to make vegan wine. Carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques are all suitable alternatives.

Many of the wines we have in our portfolio are VEGAN friendly and are highlighted in the shop with special green VEGAN labelling. They are also categorised here on our website below.