I often get asked the question: why does it say this wine is suitable for vegetarians – does that mean others aren’t?
Very simply, yes. Sometimes wines are not vegetarian or vegan. The reason behind this lies in our crystal clear glass of wine…
When wine is made it starts out looking like this:
In order to make it into the commercially pleasant looking liquid it is today you have to remove the haziness. Some particles are large enough to be filtered out, but others are so minute that fining must take place.
Traditionally this was done with egg whites. They would whisk up a batch, pour it in the top of the vat and let it sink through the wine. This would attract all of the tiny particles and leave the wine completely clear.
Over time other things have been used such as Isinglass (the swim-bladder of fish, mmm tasty), gelatine and even milk (casein).
Although it is very unlikely that any of the fining agent remains in the finished wine, if you are a strict vegan or vegetarian you’re probably averse to this practice. It’s kind of like giving your veggie mate a pepperoni pizza and asking them to just pick off the meat – it just won’t wash.
Luckily there are fining agents that are not derived from animal – such as bentonite (a type of earth). So if you are vegan or vegetarian then you can still enjoy a glass of wine.
Here are some great examples vegan wine that are all very drinkable:
Martín Códax Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain (£9.99, Majestic)
If you like Sauvignon Blanc, then chances are that you will love Albarino. This example is lovely and refreshing with a ripe, peachy character.
Emiliana Abode Carmenere, Chile (£7.89, Abel and Cole)
Often described as a style of wine that is halfway between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the grape variety Carmenere had been long forgotten in France when they discovered it growing in Chile. It’s full of black fruit flavours with a hint of coffee and spice. Plus this wine is not only vegan friendly but organic and biodynamic to boot!
Codorniu Vintage Cava, Spain (£10.99, Tesco)
Cava has a pretty bad reputation in the UK – most of us think of it as a cheap alternative to Champagne. But you can get some decent examples if you are willing to spend a little more. This racy little number is full of citrus fruit and green apple flavours, with a hint of digestive biscuit (yes, really!).