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Wait – Is That Wine Really Vegetarian?

Vegetarian

Wait – Is That Wine Really Vegetarian?


More than 70 additives—including a handful of animal products—can be used to make and process wine. Not to worry. Here’s how to find a vegetarian-friendly wine (and avoid ones that aren’t).

Serving wine at your holiday party? Be careful! More than 70 additives—including a handful of animal products—can be used to make and process wine. Winemakers aren’t required to list those additives on wine labels, 
so it can be extra-tricky to know which wines are truly vegetarian or vegan. Not to worry. Here’s how to find 
a veg-friendly vino (and avoid ones that aren’t).

1. Know Your Fining Agents 

sed to clarify wine, fining agents attract detritus left over from fermentation and eventually precipitate out. The issue? Trace amounts can remain in the finished product, and traditional 
fining agents are often not vegan or even vegetarian. Think gelatin, isinglass (fish bladders), chitin (crustacean shells), egg whites, and milk proteins. Luckily, more and more winemakers are using animal-free fining agents such as bentonite clay and carbon—or no fining agents at all. Choosing organic or biodynamic wines does not guarantee they’ll be veg-friendly. Your best bet is to ask winemakers which, if any, fining agents they use. Or go to barnivore.com 
to get veg-or-not verdicts for nearly 18,000 wines, beers, and liquors (yup, there could be animal-sourced fining agents in your pint or cocktail too).

2. Go Natural

No time to investigate iffy ingredients? Kate Jacoby, co-owner of Philadelphia’s Vedge restaurant, suggests sticking with “natural” wines, which are naturally veg: they’re made with minimal intervention and no fining agents to clarify them. “After all,” she says, “why do you need a clear wine?” Look for bottles with the words “unfined” and “unfiltered” on the label. Or shop online at stores such as New York’s Chambers Street Wines and Los Angeles’s Domaine LA, which specialize in natural wines and offer mail order. What do natural wines taste like? Expect more life and a greater range of flavors.



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