Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is Your Wine or Beer Vegan?

My family and I like our beverages. Tea, water, juice, the occasional soda. Oh, and beer and wine. Now, me, I'm not a beer drinker. I'll cook with it every now and then, but two things I have just never acquired a taste for are coffee and beer. I get teased because I don't even like the smells, unlike some non-coffee drinkers I know. I swear, open a fresh container of coffee and from anywhere in the house I will come into the kitchen insisting something is burning. Seriously, that is how it smells to me. Not appealing at all.

But wine? I like wine. Not all wine, and will admit to being a bit of a wienie about it. It has to be sweet. You can keep your dry wine, I don't want any! So imagine my surprise, and disgust, when I learned not all wines or beers are vegan! What the heck? It's made from grapes and barley and hops and wheat and it's all vegetarian, right?


Many wines are made using animal-derived ingredients to assist in the processing of the wine. While these
ingredients are largely filtered out of the wine before sold, the use of animal ingredients in the creation of the wine may make them unsuitable for consumption by vegans. Typically these ingredients are used as processing aids in the "fining" or filtration part of the winemaking process to help remove solid impurities such as grape skins, stems, pips, to remove the yeast used in the fermentation process, or to adjust the tannin levels. This is done to create a clearer, brighter, better tasting and more presentable wine.

Wine is clarified, or cleared, after fermentation. Some of the ingredients used include:

- edible gelatins (made from bones)
- isinglass (made from the swim bladders of fish)
- casein and potassium caseinate (milk proteins)
- animal albumin (egg albumin and dried blood powder)

It isn't any different with beer. Many beers are conditioned using the same fining agents as those used for wine. Finings are a substance put into the beer to clear out the yeast and particles. As with wine, isinglass, egg whites and caseins are often used for fining. However, bentonite, a mineral derived from clay, is also sometimes used.

My go to source now is Barnivore. If your preferred brand or label isn't listed, they even tell you how to contact the company and get the info you need.

Now I can imbibe without worry, and still be cruelty free!


  1. We have similar tastes/distastes. I've never liked the taste of coffee or beer, and I only like sweeter wines, like Rieslings or Moscatos.

  2. Same here! In fact, they are pretty much the only wines I will drink.

  3. This is an area where I've been closing my eyes. I'm a total wine snob & have tried some of the vegan approved wines & they curled my lip. Thanks for the site, I'm on it. Maybe now I can go "all the way".


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