The Basics of Vegetarian Wines: what should you know
The Basics of Vegetarian Wines
If you’re a vegetarian, you might be surprised to find out that many wines aren’t vegetarian-friendly. No, they aren’t putting meat in your wine! But many winemakers will use some kind of animal product in the final stages of the winemaking process. Here’s a breakdown of what they use and the vegetarian options to look for.
Often right before a wine is bottled, it will be fined. This process is done to remove impurities, leftover yeast and clarify the wine. Dairy products like egg whites, isinglass which comes from fish, and gelatin are all used to fine and clarify wine. While they do an excellent job, they’re lamentably not suitable for people who follow a strict vegetarian diet.
Fining options for vegetarian wines include bentonite, a type of clay. Some winemakers may allow the particles to settle naturally and rack the wine off the leftover sediment, as you would when decanting an older bottle. Other options include unfined/unfiltered wines – if a wine is unfiltered, it will say so somewhere on the label.
Check the label before you buy and look for the words “vegetarian” or “vegan-friendly.” If you still have questions, you can contact the winery in question.
Need help tracking down vegetarian wines in the restaurants near you? Simply ask Winepicker for recommendations!