You have probably heard of vegan wine. And if you have already tasted it, you will realize that it tastes like wine that is not vegan. For most people, the main curiosity regarding this topic is: shouldn't all wines be vegan?
If we think about the origin of any wine, the answer seems to point to an obvious yes. It turns out that the correct answer is no. And the explanation has to do with the fact that animal products have been used for hundreds of years at some stage of the process. Let me explain ...
Wine is the result of the fermentation of grape juice or must, as we call it in oenology. After fermentation, the wine is loaded with suspended matter, which occurs naturally from the fermentation of the must. Usually after the first winter, this turbidity almost disappears, but there is always a slight haze.
And it is to "clean up" this cloudiness that the winemaker uses oenological products, some of which originate in animal proteins. This is the case of albumin, which is very present in egg whites, casein or even gelatines that can originate in fish.
And for this reason, most wine are not vegan wine.
Any product that is vegan has to comply with rules. Veganism is now adopted by people of any culture, age or social background. It is not just a food option. It is a way of life that has more and more fans and that covers all consumption, including clothes, shoes and cosmetics. In the case of food products, veganism implies not consuming any product that has animal origin or contains substances from that origin.
A vegan wine is then a wine in which there was no oenological or filtration product of animal origin that has even “touched” the production of that wine.
The difference between conventional wine and vegan wine is, organoleptically speaking, none.
In fact, if we try a vegan wine, it looks, smells and tastes just like conventional wine.
This is because the products of animal origin that can enter the path of a wine end up joining the natural compounds of the wine and then deposit, forming the “sludge” that is nothing more than the turbidity that the oenological products used, grabbed and brought to the deposit fund. This family of oenological products the winemaker calls “glues”. It is easy to understand why.
To find out if a Portuguese wine is vegan, it is best to look for the “vegan” logo on the labels of the wine you are buying. The Portuguese Vegetarian Association certifies Portuguese vegan wines. Whoever obtains this certification, usually uses it on vegan wine labels, be it vegan vinho verde wine or even vegan Port wine.
The other way of knowing if a wine is vegan is to ask the wine producer if it uses animal “glues” in its wine and / or if the filtration system is “vegan friendly”.
The production of vegan wine is the same as the rest of the wine, in most stages of production. The big difference is in the "gluing" phase, that is, in the phase in which the winemaker needs to "clean" the wine from its natural turbidity and which uses proteins, but also minerals such as bentonite.
And it is in proteins that everything can change, it is here that a wine can stop being vegan wine, since most of the proteins developed for oenology are of animal origin and until very recently the proteins developed for this effect of plant origin do not were of good quality.
Fortunately, proteins from peas have taken a huge qualitative leap and can today be the alternative to produce vegan wine.
There are still few vegan wine producers in Portugal and even less are those that are certified by the Portuguese Vegetarian Association. Casca Wines already has most of the most recent vegan harvests, Douro and organic wines from Beira Interior are already and our green wine is vegan, although it is not yet certified.
We are perhaps the largest producer of vegan Portuguese wines and we are on our way to certify our vegan Port wine as well.
Is easy. You can buy vegan wine at the online shop of Casca Wines, as well as our Douro and organic wines from Beira Interior. Stores specializing in vegetarian products, such as the Celeiro, also have vegan wines. And also at El Corte Inglés you can find our vegan wines.