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Friday, February 14, 2014

Did you know not all wine is vegan?

I was so surprised to find out that not all wine is vegan (or vegetarian)!!! I figured since wine is grapes that surely no animals are used in the making of wine! WRONG! I was dining one night at Pure Food and Wine (One of my favorite plant based restaurants to eat in NYC!) and I was looking at the selection of organic wines, and some had a "V" next to them meaning Vegan and others didn't. I asked Joey the Beverage Director "Isn't all wine vegan?" He answered "Noooo." Wow whatttttt and I figured a lot of others did not this. When I was younger my father who is an earth  man through and through showed me how he made wine on his acreage, and it in no way included using any animals. He even crushed the grapes with feet - talk about whole and natural!

If you weren't already aware of wine using animal products I am sure you will find it just as fascinating and also want to know what you are consuming! So here is how animals are used in the process of making wine:

(Resource from:
"The reason that all wines are not vegan or even vegetarian-friendly has to do with how the wine is clarified and a process called ‘fining’.  All young wines are hazy and contain tiny molecules such as proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. These are all natural, and in no way harmful. However, we wine-drinkers like our wines to be clear and bright.
Most wines, if left long enough, will self-stabilize and self-fine. However, traditionally producers have used a variety of aids called ‘fining agents’ to help the process along. Fining agents help precipitate out these haze-inducing molecules. Essentially, the fining agent acts like a magnet – attracting the molecules around it. They coagulate around the fining agent, creating fewer but larger particles, which can then be more easily removed.
Traditionally the most commonly used fining agents were casein (a milk protein) ,albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). These fining agents are known as processing aids. They are not additives to the wine, as they are precipitated out along with the haze molecules."

Gross, gross, gross, gross! I prefer not to consume casein, gelatin and especially isinglass!
I also found this on wikipedia:
"Bull's blood is also used in someMediterranean countries but is not allowed in the U.S. or Europe"
"Fining with casein and albumin is usually acceptable by most vegetarians but all four are off limits for vegans because tiny traces of the fining agent may be absorbed into the wine during the fining process."
Even though I am not a vegan, I pick and choose when to consume meat, and I prefer to live a majority plant based diet - as that really works for me - however when I am drinking wine I definitely prefer it to be vegan - that is one place where I think consuming animal products is unnecessary.

So thank goodness for "A New Direction"
"...There is good news. Today many winemakers use clay-based fining agents such as bentonite clay, which are particularly efficient at fining out unwanted proteins.Activated charcoal is another vegan and vegetarian-friendly agent that is also used.
In addition, the move to more natural winemaking methods, allowing nature to take its course, means more vegan and vegetarian-friendly wines. An increasing number of wine producers around the globe are electing not to fine or filter their wines, leaving them to self-clarify and self-stabilize. Such wines usually mention on the label ‘not fined and/or not filtered’.
Apart from mentioning whether it has been fined or filtered, wine labels typically do not indicate whether the wine is suitable for vegans or vegetarians, or what fining agents were used. There has been much lobbying to change the US wine labeling laws to include ingredient listing. But so far it is not compulsory. "
It can be challenging to find a wine that is vegan as well as organic as well as not containing sulfates but they are out there in the market. You can always order online, and even ask your local liquor store to order them in.

Here is a brand I like as it has all 3 qualities: Orleans Hill
1. Vegan
2. Organic
3. No sulfates

You could buy online:

Here are some stores that stock vegan wines: 
In New York Appellation Wines in Manhattan and The Natural Wine Company in Brooklyn, where knowledgeable staff were readily able to suggest many vegan-friendly wines.
Examples include ‘Jenny & François Selections' and 'Louis Dressner Selections'. 

Recommended brands:  
Bonny Doon Vineyard
White Vegan Wines
1. 2009 Bonny Doon Ca' del Solo Albariño, Central Coast, $16 – Fined lightly with bentonite – vegan friendly.
2. 2007 Movia Brda Lunar, Slovenia, $40 – Made from 100% Ribolla Gialla – Totally naturally-made. Not even crushed. Whole bunch fermentation, not fined or filtered. Totally naturally stabilized.
3. 2008 La Colombaia Toscano Bianco, Italy, $21 – A blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia. Unfined and unfiltered.
4. 2008 Domaine Derain Allez Goutons Vin de Table Francais 2008, $21 – 100% Aligote. Unfined and unfiltered. A favorite white in our house.
5. 2009 Domaine de L'Ausseil Papillon, Languedoc, $26 – Southern French blend of White Grenache and Macabeo. Biodynamic and unfined.
6. 2008 Domaine de Montrieux , Coteaux du Vendomois, Loire $23 – Unfined and unfiltered.
7. 2007 Chateau du Champ des Treilles Blanc, Sainte Foy de Bordeaux, $16 - Biodynamic and fined lightly using bentonite. Classic white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle, but unoaked, this has long been a favorite go to in our house
Red Vegan Wines
1. 2009 Stellar Organics Cabernet Sauvignon, Western Cape, $12 – This wine even says ‘vegan friendly’ on the back label – Fair Trade accredited and organic.
2. 2008 Kawarau Estate Pinot Noir 2008, Central Otago, New Zealand, $29 - Unfined and unfiltered.
3. 2009 Oliver Cousin Anjou Gamay, Loire Valley, $23 – Organic, unfined and unfiltered.
4. 2009 Tissot Poulsard Vieilles Vignes, Jura, France $21 - Vintner Stéphane Tissot is a leader in Jura’s organic farming. Again unfined and unfiltered.
5. 2009 Casina degli Ulivi Semplicemente Rosso, $17 – A blend of Dolcetto and Barbera from Piedmont. Biodynamic, unfined with just a light filtration. Natural yeasts and winemaking.
6. 2008 Mas Foulaquier, Les Tonilliers, Pic Saint Loup, Languedoc $23 – A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Biodynamic and unfined
7. 2009 Sablonettes Les Copain D'Abord Grolleau, Anjou, Loire, $17 – Made from the local Grolleau grape. Organic, unfined or filtered.
8. 2006 Chateau du Champs des Treilles RougeSainte Foy de Bordeaux, $25- Red Bordeaux blend. Unfined and unfiltered, biodynamic.

Thank you to Pure Food and Wine, and for your resourceful information!
Much love and Happy Valentines Day!

256 days to my new book coming out! I might just celebrate the book with an earth friendly wine ;)

Love Liana

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