As one of just a few veggies in our office, it seems appropriate for me to write today’s blog about vegetarian wines. Our customers often ask us what makes a wine vegetarian and which wines in our range are ok to drink as a veggie, so I thought it was about time to give the lowdown.
As you can probably guess, veggie wines have nothing to do with vegetarian food. (Although as our Wine Buyer suggested in his recent Cooking for Guests blog post, veggie wines – particularly whites and lighter styles of red – can make a great match for a variety of vegetarian dishes.) Instead, when we refer to a veggie wine, it’s all about the winemaking processes.
Without getting too techie here, I will try to explain. Once the wine is in the vat before bottling, it will generally go through the process of fining. This aims to to remove proteins, yeast and unwanted particles in the wine. Fining agents are used for this process and these are often animal based products such as gelatine and isinglass (derived from fish bladders). The fining agents don’t remain in the finished wine but their use prevents the wine from being considered veggie friendly. Where alternative products, such as egg whites, milk based products or bentonite clay are used, or the wine is simply left to clarify naturally, the wine becomes suitable for vegetarians. For a wine to be classed as a vegan wine, no animal products whatsoever can be used in the fining process.
It probably depends on the reasons why you are a vegetarian as to whether veggie wines are important to you. You could argue that I am not a true veggie, as, I have to be honest, I am happy to indulge in most wines that are presented in front of me. But, regardless, the good thing to know is that our range of veggie wines is ever increasing. With everything from sparkling wines, rosé and delicious whites through to some cracking reds and a dessert wine, the strict vegetarians amongst you will have plenty to choose from. Simply tick the “medal winning” check box on our search and look through the results for the green “vegetarian” symbol.