Whether you’re a steadfast vegan, a trying-it-for-size vegetarian, or you’ve made the 31-day pledge for Veganuary, the last thing you want when you’re concentrating all your energy on making plant-based food swaps is to have to worry about whether that well-deserved glass of something chilled you promised yourself will fit with your dietary choices. The good news is that there is a whole range of vegan and vegetarian wine just waiting to be enjoyed along with that butternut squash linguine or broccoli hash brown bake.
What is vegan wine?
Vegan wine is wine that’s made without the use of animal products. Vegetarian wine is wine made without meat products.
It often comes as quite a surprise that any wine is made with animal or meat products. But the fact is that many wine producers use animal-derived products to filter out organic particles that may prove detrimental to the flavour, colour, texture or appearance of the wine. This process is known as ‘fining’ and may use all sorts of animal derived products, from gelatin to egg whites, or from milk protein to fish oil, and plenty more besides.
Fining is a longstanding tradition, but thankfully for vegans and vegetarians, things are looking brighter as more winemakers are switching to mineral and plant-based fining agents to clean their wines, from silica gel to plant casein and even activated charcoal.
Aside from fining, there are other factors to consider when seeking out vegan and vegetarian wine. For example, beeswax may be used to seal bottles, and certain corks may be made using milk-based glues.
Vegan wine can be defined as those which have not been fined, filtered or come into contact with anything animal or dairy derived.
How to tell if wine is vegetarian or vegan?
We’re a while away yet in the UK from wine being labelled as vegetarian or vegan in the same way that food is. Some winemakers are starting to include this information on their labels, however. You may even spot a Vegan Society label on the bottle, which will reassure you that the wine is 100% vegan.
Other than that, you can check for ‘unfined’ or ‘unfiltered’ on the label. As these are the processes responsible for introducing animal products into the wine, the fact that they are absent will make it more likely to be vegan.
You can also check for animal-derived ingredients in the wine. Some labels will list things like casein (milk protein) and egg whites, but you can’t fully rely on it.
It’s also worth checking the winemaker’s website for their vegan and vegetarian policies.
Some of the best vegan wines for you to try
Now you are a tad more familiar with what makes red and white wine vegan or vegetarian, it’s time to take a look at some of the best vegan wines from our special collection.
Best vegan red wine
When it comes to red wine, vegetarian and vegan options are thankfully not too limited and there are plenty to choose from at various budget points.
If you’re after something up the scale, this fine Cru Barolo from one of Italy’s most celebrated vineyards could hit the spot. Elegant, velvety and exuding a rich fruity bouquet, this is a wine to be savoured, as well as being a dream to admire with its deep garnet red glow.
Brimming with vibrant candied fruit and with hints of soft spice, red clay baked earth and freshly pressed grape juice on the palate, this is a South Australian mid-price range wine packed with crunchy tannins. Push the boundaries and enjoy it chilled, if you dare.
Amazing value for money, this delicious Portuguese vegan red wine is a blend of native grapes, overflowing with juicy dark fruits, chocolate notes and a subtly spicy edge. If you’re looking for the best vegan red wine to pair with all sorts of foods, this will definitely tick the box.
Best vegan white wine
As with red wine, vegetarian and vegan whites are, fortunately, not too few and far between, with something to suit a variety of budgets.
This bright, alluring Australian Chardonnay offers hints of citrus, cashew and subtle oak. Powerful yet elegant on the palate, it’s a wine that reveals more of its depth and complexity as you become increasingly familiar with it.
Fresh, complex and bursting with intense floral aromas such as orange blossom and jasmine, this Argentinian vegan white wine is a blend of Moscatel and Torrontés grapes. The refreshing acidity, notable texture and fruity, herbal expression all combine to deliver a truly memorable experience.
The partner to Paseo Red wine, vegetarian and vegan loyalists will love the fact that this Portuguese vegan white wine comes in at under a tenner. Sitting somewhere in between Vinho Verde and Albariño, there’s a fresh, lemony charm to this wine, supported by tropical flavours and a tangy edge.
Looking to buy vegan and vegetarian wine?
The Oddbins vegetarian wine range and vegan wine range are both certain to serve up something to complement your dietary choices perfectly. Not sure which would best suit your palate or meal? Want to know the best vegan wines to give as a gift? Contact our helpful team for advice via Live Chat, e-mail or by calling 0800 328 23 23 for all the help you need.