THE VEGAN DIARIES: Wine isn’t vegan?

I’ve been vegan for 1 year, 6 months and 13 days. It has been emotional, difficult (remember that time I went cold turkey and made myself ill? I do…) and the best year and a half of my life. I would by lying though if I didn’t tell you that I am so shocked by how many things aren’t vegan, I’m looking at you alcohol. A while back I wrote a post about accidentally vegan food and drinks where I touched on the fact that not all alcohol is vegan – BUT WHY THOUGH? The first thing I did when I decided to go vegan was email my all time favourite cider people (Addlestones) and I was heartbroken to hear that they aren’t vegan – WHY? Non-vegan cider is too horrifying for me to talk about though so lets talk about wine, I don’t drink a lot of wine but I do enjoy a nice glass of red wine every now and again after a long week at work. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago, when I had the urge to skip the gym (bad Amy) and have a couple of glasses of wine, that I realised just how bloody difficult it is to find vegan wine. Luckily Barnivore is there for me, it is a favourite link added to my phone’s home screen which yes, says a lot about me I know. Barnivore is the easiest way to check if your booze safe for vegans but I shit you not, I was stood in my local co op for 25 minutes checking labels and Barnivore before I found anything that was suitable… I’d have never made it to the gym on time anyway.

Why isn’t wine vegan?

GREAT question (I’m allowed to praise myself right?). What the fuck would people be putting in wine that would make it unsafe to drink? Isn’t it grapes, maybe some other flavours? Wait, I have no idea how people make wine but there’s  no reason for anything animal related, right? Wrong.

Yes wine is made from grapes, however it goes through a filtering process to make it lovely and clear. You guessed it, the filtering process is the gross bit, filtering or the fining process is where the animal products come in, according to PETA:

Popular animal-derived fining agents used in the production of wine include blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes).

So how do I buy vegan wine?

I have two tips for making your life easier if you want to buy a bottle of wine.

  1. Use Barnivore and be patient. The first time you go into your local supermarket looking for vegan friendly wine, phone in hand, you’ll probably be in the wine isle for so long that the staff will start giving you funny looks. Ignore them, you’re doing your bit for the planet and that takes time. I’ve found it’s faster to search Barnivore for the makers name, Echo Falls for example, this will show you that no wine that they produce is vegan – well done arseholes, your wine is rubbish anyway.thumb_IMG_4032_1024Don’t let this dishearten you though, this makes it better, now you know that you can skip right past all the Echo Falls wine. Trust me, you will find your perfect vegan wine, and Barnivore is your best friend.
  2. Co op! This sounds like a strange tip but Co op has been labelling lots of things with cruelty free and vegan logos for a while and recently I’ve noticed that they are labelling their wine too. Hallelujah! Ok if you’re a bit of a wine snob then you probably won’t like buying the Co op own branded wine but you can’t have it all, also you should probably know that I used to pick my wine purely on a well designed label (I’m not even sorry). I’ve not seen any other wine labelled as suitable for vegans so please let me know if you have spotted any.
co-op-malbec-wine-3
Look at those beautiful words on that label

Now off you go, find some vegan wine and enjoy your weekend!

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