Editors' Note: Because vegans are concerned about consuming beverages that contain or are made with animal ingredients, Vegetarians in Paradise is reprinting the following article that originally appeared in Vegetarian News March/April 2006 published by VegetarianDallas. We are grateful to Shirley Wilkes-Johnson and Ben Johnson for permitting us to share this valuable information with our readers.
Vegan Wines & Other Alcoholic Beverages
By Shirley Wilkes-Johnson and Ben Johnson
Vegans (pronounced VEE-guns) are VEGetariANs who are careful not to put any animal ingredients into or onto their bodies, including meat, dairy, eggs, leather, fur, etc. Most vegans don't want animal products to touch their food. They are savvy about things such as white sugar that is bleached by running it through the charred bones of slaughtered animals and casein, a glue-like milk protein that is added to many soy cheeses to cause them to melt like dairy cheeses.
Many vegans enjoy drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages, not realizing that they are often clarified by using a fining agent such as casein, egg whites, isinglass (fish bladders), gelatin and, at one time, even blood. Questionable amounts may remain in wine clarified by these methods. One may think it is inconsequential but gelatin is a suspected carrier of mad cow prions, the almost indestructible infectious agent of Mad Cow disease. Gelatin is produced by prolonged boiling of animal skin and connective tissue.
Beer and other alcoholic beverages also may not be vegan for the same reasons.
As the number of vegans grows worldwide, there is a growing demand for vegan wine. Vegan fining agents are available such as bentonite, a silica clay product, and some wine vintages do not require fining. Also, newer methods such as centrifuging and filtering are becoming more popular.
It can be difficult to learn which wines are vegan, as many wine companies buy wine from different sources and blend their wines. Some wineries list vegan wines only by certain vintages (or year) that are too numerous to list in this article. See the websites below to learn more about specific vintages.
Although we have verified the information in this article as well as possible, we cannot be held responsible for its veracity as larger companies and corporations are playing Monopoly with the world and are gobbling up smaller businesses and changing the rules. If you have a favorite beverage that is not listed here, we recommend that you call the company and ask if their product is vegan, or change to one that is. Our purpose is to list a few wines, beers and spirits so that vegans have some vegan choices. The information in this article was gathered from vegetarian/vegan web sites, wineries, brewmeisters, etc.
Texas Vegan Wines
Organic Vegan Wines
Note: Organic wines are not necessarily vegan.
Other Vegan Wines
Port is a fortified wine blended with spirits and is usually not vegan.
However, we found one slightly pricey (at $26 a bottle) organic vegan port, Casal dos Jordoes Port available at selected sources such as The Organic Wine Company: http://www.ecowine.com
Beers are processed in many of the same ways as wine, often using isinglass to filter the end product.