Drinkin’ Vegan by: April D. Richmond

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With the Vegan movement gaining momentum daily, it’s time to take a look at something that is surprisingly un-vegan, WINE! To the chagrin of many Vegans, most wines fall under the category of   “no- no”. What causes wine to not make the Vegan cut, and how can you get around this technical foul? Let’s take a look at some surprising facts and safe wines.

Believe it or not, animal products are commonly used in most wines during the fermenting process to remove proteins, yeast and cloudiness often found in wine. These “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). If you’re cringing at this point, not to worry, there is short list of wineries stepping ahead of the game and producing organic, 100% Vegan wine! These wineries use non-animal based alternatives like Carbon, vegetable plaque and Limestone as fining agents. The biggest challenge is finding these wine jewels in a sea of unsuspecting vino!

The most notable vegan wine on the market today is also listed on the celebrity wine owner list. It hails from none other than retired NBA champ, and Brooklyn native John Salley who is an outspoken advocate for the Vegan lifestyle. He recently partnered with Vegan Vine Wines and has quickly become the new face of all things Vegan. So far, they’ve produced a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, a red blend and a Cabernet Sauvignon that pair with everything from Vegan mac n cheese to Vegan chili! Their flavors are exactly what you would expect from said wines, and most wouldn’t suspect they’re drinking anything other than delicious wines with fruit forward aroma and well-balanced blends. If you’re not Vegan, but want to take a stab at animal free wines there is something out there for every palate. Try purchasing Vegan wines that are the equivalent to what you normally drink then branch out from there!

Here is a list of wineries specializing in wines free of animal based fining agents.

Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards: www.coopershawkvineyards.com ; 519738HAWK

China Bend Winery: www.chinabend.com ; 18007006123

Fitzpatrick Winery: www.fitzpatrickwinery.com ; 18002459166

Frey Winery: www.freywine.com ; 18007603739

Organic Vintners: www.organicvintners.com ; 8002163898

Organic Wine Company: www.veganwinesonline.com ; 1888ECOWINE

Seghesio Family Vineyards: www.seghesio.com ; 8667344374

Smithfield Wine: www.petamall.com/PLPShop.asp?RecordID=71 ; +44 (0161) 273 6070

The Vegan Vine Wines: http://theveganvine.com/ 1800ITSWINE

Thumbprint Cellars: www.thumbprintcellars.com ; 7074332393

April Richmond is a Certified Sommelier, Wine Educator and Wine Writer based in

Northern California. She is the owner of Sip & Swirl Events.