Vegan Wines – What Are They, and Which Ones to Go For?
Wine; a staple in the diet of many of us. You may have heard the increasing interest to look towards vegan alternatives, and whether you are looking to be more sustainable in purchasing or your diet, vegan wines are a great place to start. Trust us, you’ll be glad of it!
What makes vegan wines vegan?
Wine is the product of grapes and yeast through the process of fermentation, which may lead you to believe that all wines are vegan-friendly. However, it’s less so the ingredients themselves that are the culprits, but actually the way we clarify it. Traditionally, wines are clarified using egg whites, gelatine, milk proteins, or fish derivatives which are used to precipitate out the larger particles that can’t be removed through filtration. So, to make wine vegan, winemakers must either not add anything in and allow the particles to sink naturally to the bottom or use non-animal fining products such as a form of clay or pea protein. Essentially, vegan wines do not come into contact with animal products through fining, filtration, or bottling!
When we use these fining agents in wine, it doesn’t have an impact on the flavour, but it does change its texture. This means that most unfiltered, natural wines are rather hazy. Whilst it’s not actually required by law to state whether your wine is vegan-friendly or not, many brands opt to put it on where applicable to ensure you can enjoy with comfort in your purchase!
What Ones Are For You?
For those looking to increase their consumption of vegan wines, there are plenty of options to choose from. Many are low in calories, low in sodium and contain only trace amounts of alcohol — about 1.5 grams per serving for table wine, for example — but other vegan wines can have as much as 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and 20 percent more than standard wines.
So what should you look for when picking out a bottle? Should you focus on the vineyard (or region), the grapes used to make the wine or even the type of wine it is? In other words, how is the vegan wine made?
The way you pick out a bottle of wine depends on personal taste and preference. Some people prefer sweeter wines while others prefer less sweet wines, so they go with a fancier label or better known company. What's important is that you find something that suits your taste buds.
Zesty and lively, this is a beautiful white from top Austrian domaine, Weingut Rabl. This wine is like like a cross between a Sauvignon Blanc and a dry Riesling, giving a lovely fresh and lively with flavours cool grassy fruit. This bottle makes an amazing accompaniment to fresh shellfish or on its own beautifully chilled as an aperitif. Amazingly, this delicious wine is moderately priced at under €20!
From the Languedoc wine region, Laurent Miquel Solas 2019 is a vegan-friendly Pinot Noir produced from sustainably grown grapes. This one is very interesting, bright, and juicy with red berry, strawberry, fresh mushroom, and wild herb flavours finishing with a touch of spice on the palate. It is great value at €8 in Dunnes and is best when lightly chilled and enjoyed with game and red currant.
This very well priced organic red wine is produced with 100% Nero D'Avola grapes producing ripe aromas of rich dark berried fruit with a hint of spice. The palate is full of rich and juicy plum notes with bramble fruit characters and plump tannins. The Nero d'Avola grapes are sourced from the area around Salemi (Province of Trapani) in the north-west tip of Sicily. Perfectly matched with pasta dishes and red sauces or hearty casseroles.
This organic, vegan Montepulciano from Italy is the perfect star to pair with spicy food, hard cheeses, pizza & pasta, and game. It has delicious taste of ripe fruit on the palate of raspberry and cherry, with hints of liquorice, ending off with a lovely savoury and mint finish. A firm favourite and also very affordable at €14.15!
Finally, we would certainly recommend this Sauvignon Blanc from the South West of France as an amazing, refreshing wine that goes perfectly with fresh seafood, rich fish, spicy food, pork, and poultry. An all-rounder and certainly a crowd-pleaser as it is lovely and light, citrussy, and tropical and very good value at only €12.40!
Vegan-friendly wines are not only delicious, very sustainable, and are naturally better for you - so you can justify that second glass! As per our recommendations, drinking sustainably doesn’t have to break the bank. Keep an eye out on the label the next time you’re out on the wine run or on the menu at an incredible Peckish restaurant and get tasting!