What is vegan wine?

Organic wine and natural wine have been flying high over the last few years. However, vegan wine might just burst their bubble. So what, in fact, is vegan wine?

Like the vegan (or vegetarian) diet, which involves serving food that contains no animal products, vegan wine has a 100% plant-based composition. But although the vegan diet is easy to imagine, questions arise regarding vegan wine. Effectively, knowing that wine is produced with grapes, which in turn come from the vine, you would think that its composition can only be plant based.

Ah, how wrong can you be. Because winemakers and wine growers often use specific products to produce a "glue" (wine jargon) used to eliminate the yeast residues and particles suspended in the wine. In the wine growing universe, this process is called "clarification".

Vegan wine: how is it different from organic wine? 

A large number of products are used to create the glue, such as, egg white, fish glue, or even casein, a particle that is found milk. However, all of these ingredients are of animal origin. However, they can be avoided by using a vegetable glue developed from vegetable-based proteins such as peas, wheat or even potato. And this is what is involved in the vegan wine process. Obviously, the other solution for producing vegan wine involves avoiding the use of glue all together.

Although they are both environmentally-friendly products, vegan wine and organic wine are substantially different from one another. The specification for producing organic wines prohibits the use of products such as animal-blood based gelatin or albumin, however it permits the use of egg white and casein. An "organic" labelled wine is therefore not necessarily vegan and vice-versa.

Label V: 100% plant based

A vegan wine is not always easy to find, except if you purchase it directly from the producer and ask the question. But the recent emergence (2016) of labels such as Label V, and E.V.E Vegan, which certify that the wine is 100% of plant origin, is a game-changer. Although, at the moment, only a handful of wine growing producers in France have adopted it, in light of the hype around organic wines over the last few years, we can nevertheless assume that vegan wines will have a bright future.