Vegan Wine and Food

Vegan Wine? I am sure that many of you are not aware of the fact that some wines are not actually vegan so why is this?

Simply put it is the products that are used in the fining (clearing) process of wines that ensure that all wines are clear and bright when served from the bottle that will define whether a wine is classed as non- vegan/vegan/vegetarian. So, what is used for each definition.

Where a wine is non-vegan the most popular fining agents are animal derived ones that include bone marrow, Chitin (fibre from crustacean shells, fish oil, gelatine, and isinglass (gelatine from fish bladder membranes) and egg albumen.

Wines that are classed as vegetarian use casein (milk protein) or albumen (egg whites).

Vegan wines will use none of the above but will use either bentonite (a clay-based protein or a pea protein.

It is important to remember that whatever fining agent is used they do not affect the taste of the wine as they are all neutral in flavour.

Current research shows that there were estimated to be 1.4 million  vegans in the UK at the beginning of 2023 whilst that figure has now risen to 2.5 million, representing 4.7% of the adult population!  So, we are now finding that more and more wines are using vegan friendly fining methods and we believe that this will keep on rising as time goes on.

So, what wines go with your favourite dishes? When we talk about the classic pairing of food and wine, we would tend to focus on bringing together complimentary flavours.

So, I have put together some dishes and my choice of wines that I think would match. Please do remember that pairing food and wine is not an exact science as we all have different palates and different tastes – as I always say food and wine styles are personal and after all if we all liked the same thing the world would be a boring place! But most of all it is about enjoyment of both, and it pays not be too serious and anal about our choices!

Starting off close to home food wise, I do love a traditional dhal and roti and I would love to share a recipe with you.  Honestly if you have never cooked a dhal before you will see how easy this is to do.   I love to pair this with an off dry Riesling such as the Hochheimer Kabinett, as the touch of sweetness balances with the spice and the acidity refreshes the palate.

Serves 2 generous portions.


1 cup of red split lentils – washed till water runs clear.

I medium onion finely diced.

1 large thumb of fresh ginger- grated

2/3 cloves of garlic- minces

½ tin chopped tomatoes- blended

½ teaspoon Chilli powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon garam masala (preferably homemade but shop bought ok- if you look out for further blogs, I may sell you my mum’s recipe for this!)

1 litre of boiled water

½ tsp salt

Handful of fresh coriander chopped and some sprigs to serve.


Fry the diced onions till translucent in some vegetable oil. Add the ginger and garlic but don’t let it burn – cook for a few mins, stirring to stop it sticking. Add the blended tomatoes and fry gently till the oil starts seeping out. Now add the spices and stir and fry for a few minutes. Now add the washed red lentils – cook till they change colour. Add the water & salt and simmer till lentils cooked – if you prefer a thinner consistency just add a bit more water but that will dissipate the flavour. When cooked stir in the chopped fresh coriander and serve with a few sprigs on top to make it look pretty!

Accompany with yoghurt (vegan of course) – I prefer to add a dash of lemon juice and pinch of garam masala and salt – makes it yummier! - the obligatory naan bread, some fresh tomatoes, and sliced onions on the side and of course some good mango pickle – not chutney!


Here Some other pairings of note for you food and wine lovers:

Now if like me you love your quality tomato-based dishes such as a lovely aubergine parmigiana a quality Chianti Classico such as our Altadonna is a must – the soft fruity smoothness of this Sangiovese based red pairs stunningly.

Garlic mushrooms – superb with a lovely Pinot Noir.  I recently tasted our Gran Reserva Santa Luz from the Leyda Valley, Chile – absolutely amazing!

Asparagus dishes are notoriously hard to pair a wine with but if you like this vegetable as much as I do I would go with a white Rioja – in fact the stunning Rioja Vega Blanco with its high proportion of the amazing tempranillo blanco grape is a must!!

For your favourite Chinese dishes I prefer a cracking Chenin blanc as the green apple and slightly fruit flavours pair well with the salt and sweetness in that style of food, and as we all love a bit of value for money the Mineralium Chenin is a must!

Salads are best off with light wines such as a good quality Sauvignon or a Pinot Grigio.  For me as much as there are some good Pinot Grigios around, I would always go for the Le Charme Sauvignon Blanc.

Now I could go on, but I am hopeful that there are enough ideas to help you in your choice. Please do remember that food and wine pairing is fun!! And don’t take it too seriously. Most of all always think about the flavours in your chosen dish and ensure that those neither overpower nor are overpowered by your tipple of choice.

I hope that this all helps,


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