If you assume that all wine is plant-based simply because it is made from fermented grapes, you would be very, very wrong. Although wine is produced using grapes, whether it be just one or a blend of different types, some winemakers use animal products during the production process. This is not always obvious, and many people are unaware that this even happens.
If you are a vegan wine drinker, listen up: not all wines are vegan-friendly.
What is Vegan Wine?
Being vegan means that you do not consume anything that comes from an animal. Many people who follow a vegan diet also practice this in their lifestyle choices as well, not wearing leather or other materials that are made from animal skin or using skincare, beauty or household products that contain ingredients from an animal.
Vegan wine means that there have been absolutely no animal byproducts used during the production process at any point. This can even go as specific as whether or not any animal byproduct has been used to fertilize the soil where the grapes have grown, but mainly it’s concerned with the way the wine is clarified. This part of production is called “fining.”
In the beginning, wines will appear more cloudy. This is because there are microscopic particles that naturally produce during fermentation and float around, causing the wine to look hazy and, let’s be honest, that is not so appealing to the eye.
Some wines are left in the tanks long enough to self stabilize and as a result, “self-fine” so that the particles eventually begin to settle and sink to the bottom. SYLTBAR wines are in this category. Despite the fact that we are not vegan, and neither are our producers, we still believe in having a pure, vegan product.
Unlike SYLTBAR’s producers, other winemakers use fining agents to help move along this clarification process. These agents basically act like a magnet that attracts the molecules and helps clear them out from the wine. Some of the common clarifiers used include egg whites, gelatin, fish bladder and milk protein.
Although these are not actually considered additives to the wine, there is a chance that small traces of the animal byproducts could make their way into the wine during the fining process, and that is not acceptable for someone who practices veganism.
How Do I Know if a Wine is Vegan?
If a wine producer wants to use a fining agent to help clarify the wine and still remain vegan, there are non-animal options such as activated charcoal, bentonite clay or pea protein. However, self-fining, like what SYLTBAR does, is the most natural way to clarify the wine and presents customers with a wine in its most natural state. As a reminder, this means that SYLTBAR will never use any thing to clarify its wines. The wines are kept in the tank for a long enough period of time that they self-fine/self-stabilize all on their own.
SYLTBAR is also a certified by the Green Project, which requires its wines to be vegan. We wouldn’t be certified by the Green Project if we used any kind of substance to clarify the wine.
Since there is no law that states a wine label is required to include ingredients and nutrition facts, it can be hard to tell whether or not a particular wine is vegan. Some wines will include a “Vegan Friendly” note on the label, and sometimes wine shops will have a specific section for vegan wines exclusively.
Generally, though, you may have to do your own research to find out what wines are vegan. Check the brand’s website and if you cannot find the answer, look for customer service to reach out to so you can ask directly.
We make it very well known that our wines are vegan. We don’t want you to have to waste time researching for yourself. The entire line of SYLTBAR wines — Mr, Mrs, White Linen, Silk, Cashmere and Junior — are, and always will be, vegan!
Shop SYLTBAR for Vegan Wine
Vegan wine should not be confused with organic or naturally produced wines, although many times wines will be all three of these things. But it’s important to know that just because a wine is organic or naturally made, it does not mean that animal byproduct wasn’t used in the fining process.
Lucky for you, SYLTBAR is vegan, organic and naturally produced, so it checks off all the boxes! Shop for all of your vegan-friendly wines at syltbar.com, or look for us at your local retailers and restaurants.