Fact: Most Wine Is Actually Not Vegan. Here’s What You Need to Know

But wait – isn’t all wine vegan?!

This is usually the response I get when I’m at a restaurant and ask, “Is this wine vegan?”

It is assumed that because there is no actual meat in the wine that it must be vegan. But in fact, many things beyond food are not vegan including beauty products, medications, gummy candies and wine!

It is assumed that because there is no actual meat in the wine that it must be vegan.

This is usually because of either animal testing or preservatives. In the case of wine, it is due to the clarifying process.

So, What Makes Wine NOT Vegan?

Most mass-produced wine goes through a clarifying process called “fining.”

Young wines typically look slightly cloudy in their natural state due to proteins (natural plant molecules designed to ward off disease), tannins (astringent, bitter compounds found in grape skins, seeds and stems.

Tannins give you the drying sensation when drinking full bodied red wines, and tartrates (also known as “wine diamonds”) are solid crystals formed in the wine due to low temperatures of tartaric acid, a natural acid found in wine.

These are harmless, natural parts of the grape or fermentation process and most people can’t even notice these small imperfections.

However, for aesthetic purposes, many vintners use fining agents to improve clarity.

These fining agents are generally animal byproducts such as casein, egg whites, gelatin, pig hooves and fish bladder. Yuck!

Fortunately, there are plenty of animal-friendly fining agents that can be used in vegan wine. According to, vegan fining agent alternatives include carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, plant casein, silica gel, and more.

For aesthetic purposes, many vintners use fining agents to improve clarity and many of these agents contain animal byproducts.

As more consumers are demanding more organic and natural wine, there are more wineries practicing sustainable winemaking.

Another alarming fact is that you could be drinking dead birds (among other things). Yup. Mass produced vineyards that use large machinery take everything off the vine and dump it in the barrel. And I mean EVERYTHING.

Not just under-ripe grapes but insects, animals and bird nests. This is one of the many benefits to hand-picked grapes!

So – How Do I Find Vegan Wine?

Because there are no nutrition labels on wines, it can be incredibly challenging to find true organic, vegan wine.

Look for wines labeled “unfined” or “unfiltered.” You can also use the Barnivore app to help you when at your local wine shop.

You can also have vegan wine delivered to your door! Order certified organic, vegan wine at You’ll find clean-crafted wine with zero added sugar, sulfites or chemicals.

Vegan wine is wine as nature intended.

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Felicia Zeeh

Felicia is currently studying to become a Certified Specialist of Wine and has been vegan for 6 years. Her passion is teaching others how to pair great wine with vegan meals. She is also an Independent Wine Consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine club that sells certified organic, vegan wine with zero added sugar, sulfites or chemicals.

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