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What is a Vegan / Vegan wine?


The question may seem absurd since, a priori, wine is fermented grape juice. So a totally vegetable product. However, the answer is not so simple because traditional production methods lead to the addition of a multitude of products to wine, in this case products of animal origin.
In recent years, we often think of phytosanitary products used for the treatment of the vine because of our concern for the environment. But you should know that other products are used at all stages of wine making.

Animal products are mainly present in the clarification and stabilization phase of the wine, a practice also authorized in ORGANIC.

– Gelatin – Obtained by prolonged boiling of the skin, bones of pigs, cattle or fish. Gelatin is mainly used for red wines.
– Fish glue or isinglass – Obtained from the skin or cartilage of fish. This glue is used for white wines and red wines.
– Albumin (egg white) – Albumin is used to soften tannic red wines.
– Casein (cow's milk protein) – This protein is used for white wine.
– Animal blood – Adjuvant banned since 1997, it was once widely used and is therefore found in old wines.
Vegetable alternatives for this operation can be, for example, bentonite (mineral clay), silica sol (silicon dioxide), pea or potato glue (vegetable proteins), charcoal, yeast husk, cellulose or gum arabic alone or in combination.

The dry materials that can pose a problem for vegan quality are corks that use beeswax and labels and back labels that can be glued with a glue based on casein (cow's milk) or pork (waste from slaughterhouses).
Here again, it is not easy because French legislation is not at all restrictive for wines, unlike all other agri-food products. Thus, a wine label, if it correctly presents the name of the estate, the appellation, the year, etc. does not say anything about the components of the wine. And currently, the number of wines labeled Vegan can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Thus, in order to limit the risks of falling on a non-vegan wine, it is necessary to favor wines without inputs, at least organic.
So how do you find it? You can go through the labels with precise specifications and/or rely on the details of the winemaker.

There are currently no regulations obliging operators to display the characteristics linked to clarification on the labels of wines and spirits. However since June 30, 2012, wines must mention the presence of milk or egg in relation to food allergies. This index can help you, but remains imprecise and often forgotten.
For the use of the mention “vegan” or “vegetarian” on a bottle there is also no obligation of control. It is therefore better to prefer those that have been checked by official bodies such as EXPERTISE VEGANE EUROPE [ See the article on the subject ], VeganSociety or V-Label.
Finally, the young Vin-Végé directory launched by the VEGAN FRANCE association will make it easier in the future to connect winegrowers, distributors and consumers looking for certified wines.
Be aware, however, that the VEGAN label does not imply being ORGANIC, so to be sure of wine without animal input or not, choose DEMETER WINES.
largely inspired by the Article by Claire Brachet (Double V) – May 15, 2017.