Is Wine Vegetarian?

Is Wine Vegetarian?

a guide to vegan wine

Wine is one of life’s greatest pleasures – so why should vegetarians and vegans miss out? You may be surprised to learn that despite wine’s plant-based nature, some are not suitable for vegetarian and vegan consumption. However, you’re not alone in your confusion – we frequently get asked whether wine is vegetarian. 

Whilst almost no wine contains any animal-based products, many are ‘fined’ with animal ingredients when they are being produced. This means many vegetarians and vegans choose to forgo these wines and instead choose vegetarian-friendly bottles that use different ingredients during their creation.

It’s important to note that none of the fining agents remain in the finished bottle – so if your choice is more health-based and you seek to avoid physically consuming animal products, all wine is safe.

What is fining?

Fining is the process whereby producers help clarify and stabilise their wines, the final step after removing the insoluble pulp matter that is naturally produced during the creation of the wine. This matter can range from yeast, to proteins, to tannins – but each affects taste and quality. Various techniques remove this bulk matter, and then fining takes place.

The Fining is the process by which the fining substance is added to the wine in order to remove compounds that can influence the taste and clarity of the wine such as sulphides, proteins or copper ions. The chosen fining substance interacts with the wine through electrostatic, adsorbent, ionic or enzymatic reactions and removes the unwanted compounds.

Is wine vegetarian?

Fining agents vary from isinglass and gelatine to casein and egg albumen. Any wine fined using casein (derived from milk) or egg albumen are therefore suitable for vegetarians – but not for vegans. Isinglass is made from fish, so wine using this ingredient would be suitable for pescatarians. There are alternative fining agents that can be used such as charcoal or clay-derived bentonite. These are safe for vegetarians and vegans but are less common than animal-derived ingredients.

The issue is that there is no legal obligation for winemakers to state the fining ingredients they use, making it difficult for vegetarians who want to omit gelatine or isinglass-based wines.

Fortunately, House of Townend are proud to make it easy for you to select vegetarian-friendly and vegan-friendly wines. We offer a vegetarian wine and vegan wine page on our website to make your selection simple.

House of Townend’s Vegetarian Wine Favourites

Whether you’re a vegan or vegetarian, or you are hosting a party and want to accommodate for your guests, discover our top picks of incredible wines to cater for all tastes and dietary requirements.

Beaujolais Villages 2014 Domaine de Gry-Sablon

This beautiful example from Beaujolais has fresh red fruits on the nose and a wonderful moreish palate perfect for those who adore soft, fruity wines. Suitable for vegans.

Hill Smith Chardonnay

A South Australian white wine with peach and citrus aromas and flavours of nectarine, providing a crisp, refreshing drink. Ideal for spring and summer drinking with an exquisite richness to be savoured. Suitable for vegans.

Pleno Garnacha Rosé

This wine, from producers Bodegas Agronavarra in Spain, is a lovely option when you want a fruity rosé to enjoy throughout the warmer months. Suitable for vegans.

Barocco Prosecco

Need a bit of fizz to liven things up? This vegan-friendly prosecco is a young, crisp Italian example that begs to be drunk.

Longboard Pinot Noir 2014

Looking for something a bit special? Try this Longboard Pinot Noir, a rich wine that combines great fruit with a slightly smoked character giving a spectacular, elegant wine. Suitable for vegans.

  Back to blog