When most people think about the vegan diet, they’re usually well aware that vegans can’t eat animal products like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. You may even know that some vegans also avoid honey because the commercial honey production process can be harmful to the health of the bees. But did you know that many wines are also not vegan?
Although the basic ingredients in wine are vegan by nature — as grape juice and yeast are not animal products — the actual process is to produce and bottle wine often involves the use of animal ingredients called fining agents. Essentially, unless a batch of wine is allowed to sit for quite a long time, it will contain sediment from the grapes. Because it’s in the best interest of commercial wineries to bottle the wine as soon as it’s ready to free up the barrel, the wine often doesn’t have as long to settle. Therefore, to hasten the process, winemakers often use fining agents, which are sticky substances that adhere to particulates in the wine, so they can then be filtered out. The final filtering process does remove nearly all of the fining agents, but the agents are not only animal products themselves (such as isinglass from fish bladders, gelatin from hooves, casein, and albumin from egg whites), but are also usually produced by industries that exploit animals.
Fortunately, there are several great winemakers that use vegan fining agents or give the wine ample time to settle, negating the need for fining agents altogether. Keep reading for the best vegan wines and make your next pour a vegan wine you can feel good about enjoying.
Proudly Vegan Wines
Vegans can sip with confidence when enjoying any of the delectable wines from Proudly Vegan Wines. Proudly Vegan is a brand behind four 100% vegan wines — even down to the ink and glue on the label — all of which are registered by the Vegan Society. Vegan wines from Proudly Vegan include Merlot, Prosecco, Rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruity Merlot is from Chile’s Valle Central and has a rich blend of cherry and plum with notes of coffee and chocolate. The light Prosecco hails from Veneto, Italy, Prosecco DOC. It is 11% ABV and features aromatic notes of hazelnut and apple. Like the Merlot, the Sauvignon Blanc comes from Chile’s Valle Central and has refreshing, crisp flavors of gooseberry, passionfruit, and zingy lime, while the Rosé is pleasantly floral with prominent fruity raspberry and plum flavors.
Though the name may not scream vegan as much as Proudly Vegan wines, Avaline also is a 100% vegan wine brand. Their vegan wine varieties include Pinot Noir, Red, White, and Rose. All Avaline wines are not only vegan but also made from organic grapes grown without synthetic pesticides. There are no added artificial ingredients, sugars, colors, or concentrates. Avaline is committed to full transparency in its labeling and ingredients. The White wine is particularly delicious. It’s refreshingly dry and crisp and has the perfect hint of citrus.
Healthiest Vegan Wine: Wonderful Wine Co.
Many vegans are drawn to the vegan diet for its health benefits, so if you’re looking for a vegan wine that’s healthier than most standard wines, you’ll love the Wonderful Wine Co. line of low-sugar vegan wines. Not only are all the wines vegan, but they are also low-carb, low-sugar, Paleo, keto, pesticide-free, organic, and low sulfite. Moreover, these vegan wines are sustainably produced, contain no added sugar, and contain fewer calories than most commercial wines. Varieties include California, Chardonnay, Malbec, Malvasia Bianca, and Rosé.
Best Environmentally-Friendly Vegan Wine: Frey Vineyards 2019 Biodynamic Cabernet Sauvignon
If the environmental benefits of being vegan are what resonates most with your values and priorities, you should look into the vegan wines from Frey Vineyards. These award-winning vegan wines are also gluten-free, organic, and contain no added sulfites. Moreover, Frey Vineyards is the first biodynamic vineyard in the United States, which denotes their cultivation process that supports the soil, groundwater, and wildlife in the vineyard. Though they have many vegan wines, we love the 2019 Biodynamic Cabernet Sauvignon, which features grapes from Mendocino, California. This vibrant red has 14% ABV and has flavors of allspice and huckleberry. Like all Frey Vineyard wines, there are no sulfites added.
Best Vegan Canned Wine: Protector Cellars Canned Wines
Canned wine has become increasingly popular, as it offers a convenient way to enjoy wine on the go. Whether you’re off to an elegant picnic or simply want to enjoy a summery rosé on the beach, you can enjoy the canned vegan wines from Protector Cellars. They offer several delicious vegan wines. For red wine lovers, the Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a Cabernet Sauvignon (77%) from a region within the Paso Robles AVA blended with a touch of Syrah (15%) and Grenache (8%). This vegan wine is aged for 10 months in French Oak barrels, imparting oaky notes and soft tannins. Protector Cellars also makes other canned vegan wines, including a light, effervescent Rose, a Piquette, and a zingy Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc is one of the crispest vegan white wines. It features grapes from a vineyard in Santa Barbara County that is whole-cluster-pressed and has notes of citrus, apple, pear, and apricot.
Best Vegan Champagne: Champagne Legret Mineral
Champagne Legret Mineral is vegan champagne perfect for any celebration. It is made from only Chardonnay grapes from vineyards in La Marne on the Côte des Blancs, the Coteaux du Sézannais, and du Petit Morin. This vegan champagne has a refreshingly fruity, citrusy, slightly floral taste, with notes of minerality from the iodine. variety, which brings finesse and elegance. It is 12% ABV.
Best Vegan Prosecco: Bellissima Prosecco
For great vegan prosecco and rosé options, consider the vegan wines from Bellissima Prosecco. The Bellissima Prosecco Brut is elegant, rich, and very dry. It has the aromas of green apple and freshly baked bread. They also have a Zero Sugar Prosecco for fans of sparkling wine who want to steer clear of sugar. This dry vegan wine is bubbly, light, and acidic, with flavors of grapefruit. Bellissima Prosecco makes other vegan wines, such as a Sparkling Rosé, Prosecco Rose, and Zero Sugar Sparkling Rosé.
Best Vegan Wine Subscription: Vegan Wines Wine Club
For those who like the idea of a wine subscription, you can join Vegan Wines Wine Club. As the name implies, Vegan Wines curates a marketplace of some of the best vegan wines from vineyards in California, other regions of the United States, Chile, France, Italy, and more. They even have some of their own label vegan wines. Every wine on their site is 100% vegan. The Vegan Wine Club includes quarterly shipments (one for each season) of six bottles of different hand-selected, delicious vegan wines from prominent national and international wine regions. It is a great way to be introduced to some of the best vegan wines, many of which are organic. You can also customize your shipments based on your preferences and can select the varietals and vintages you want to try. Club members get other perks like discounts and exclusive access to limited vegan wines.
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