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Vegan Wine

17 de June, 2020

You have probably heard of vegan wine. And if you have tasted it, you realize that it tastes the same as wine that is not vegan. For most people, the main curiosity about this topic is: shouldn't all wines be vegan?

If we think about the origin of any wine, the answer seems to point at first to an obvious yes. It turns out that the correct answer is no. And the explanation has to do with the fact that for hundreds of years products of animal origin have been used at some stage of the process. Let me explain...

Wine is the result of fermentation of grape juice or must, as we call it in oenology. After fermentation the wine is loaded with suspended matter, which occurs naturally from the fermentation of the must. Usually after the first winter this cloudiness almost disappears, but a slight haze always remains.

And it is to "clear up" this turbidity that the winemaker resorts to oenological products, some of them come from animal protein. This is the case of albumin, very present in egg whites, casein, or even gelatins that may come from fish.

And this is why most wine is not vegan wine.



What is Vegan Wine?

Any product that is vegan has to comply with rules. Veganism is now adopted by people of any culture, age, or social background. It is not just a food option. It is a way of life that has more and more followers and that covers all consumption, including clothing, footwear, and cosmetics. In the case of food products, veganism implies not consuming any product that has animal origin or contains substances from that origin.

A vegan wine is then a wine in which there was no oenological or filtration product of animal origin who has even "touched" the production of this wine.


What is the difference between conventional wine and Vegan wine?

The difference between conventional wine and vegan wine is, organoleptically speaking, none.

In fact if you taste a vegan wine it looks, smells and tastes just like a conventional wine.

This is because products of animal origin that may enter the path of a wine eventually join the natural compounds of the wine and deposit, forming the "lees" which is nothing more than the turbidity that the used oenological products grabbed and brought to the bottom of the deposit. This family of oenological products the winemaker calls "glues". It is easy to understand why.


How to know if a Wine is Vegan?

To know if a Portuguese wine is vegan, it is best to look for the vegan logo on the labels of the wine you are buying. The Portuguese Vegetarian Association certifies Portuguese vegan wines. Whoever gets this certification, usually uses it on the labels of the vegan wine, be it vegan vinho verde or even vegan port wine.

The other way to tell if a wine is vegan is to ask the wine producer if he uses animal-based "glues" in his wine and/or if the filtration system is "vegan friendly".


Vegan Wine Production

The vegan wine production is equal to that of the rest of the wine, in most of the production phases. The big difference is in the "fining" phase, i.e., the phase in which the winemaker needs to "clean" the wine of its natural turbidity and for this he uses proteins, but also minerals such as bentonite.

And it is in the proteins that everything can change, this is where a wine can cease to be vegan wine, because most of the proteins developed for oenology are of animal origin, and until recently the proteins developed for this purpose of vegetable origin were not of good quality.

Fortunately, pea-origin proteins have made a great leap forward and can now be the alternative for producing vegan wine.


Vegan Wine Producers in Portugal

There are still few vegan wine producers in Portugal and even fewer who are certified by the Portuguese Vegetarian Association. Casca Wines already has most of its most recent vintages vegan, the Douro and organic wines from Beira Interior are already vegan and our vinho verde is vegan, although not yet certified.

We are perhaps the largest producer of vegan Portuguese wines and we are moving towards certifying our vegan Port wine as well.


Where to buy Vegan Wine?

It's easy. At online store da casca wines you can now buy vegan vinho verde, as well as our Douro and organic wines from Beira Interior. The stores specialized in vegetarian products, such as Celeiro, they also have vegan wines. And also at El Corte Inglés you can find our vegan wines.



Hélder Cunha

My life is the wine

Any questions or suggestions for topics?
Please write to: blogdoenologo@cascawines.pt

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