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Vegan wines are hitting the shelves and gaining popularity. According to The Globe and Mail, not only are vegan wines making a bigger appearance on liquor store shelves, but they’ve also been requested by customers more than organic wines.
For many, it may come as a surprise to learn that wine hasn’t already been vegan. After all, wine is made from distilled grapes.
Non-organic? Perhaps. But non-vegan?
As it turns out, more animal products are used in the winemaking process than the American public may have originally assumed. Animal parts aren’t incorporated into the wine itself, but animal-based fining agents are used to remove unwanted elements from the wine.
Some of the most common animal-based agents include albumin (egg whites) to remove unwanted tannins, casein (milk protein) and gelatin for juice clarification, and isinglass. Isinglass, which is made from dried fish bladder, is also frequently used in beer.
Although these elements are removed from the wine before it’s bottled, the use of animal parts at all may not sit well with many vegans. It’s for this reason, as veganism becomes a growing movement, that vegan wine options that use charcoal and clay are becoming increasingly popular.
Clay-based fining agents like bentonite or activated charcoal are used in the filtration process to get rid of unwanted protein. Other vegan wines may be bottled unfiltered.
Wine companies that have already used vegan methods in their wine processes in the past are now proudly labeling their wines as vegan-friendly. Yalumba, a winery in South Australia, has been bottling vegan-friendly wines since 2012 but has only begun labeling their wines as vegan-friendly since 2016.
“Not all our wines are labeled vegan-friendly,” said Pippa Merrett, Yalumba’s public relations manager, “but it is indeed a great point of differentiation.”
Many vegan-friendly wine companies are finding that labeling their wines conspicuously as vegan-friendly may be a great marketing technique. These wine vendors may also consider additional marketing methods like instructional or amusing online video. After all, studies have shown that including video on a website’s landing page can increase conversions by 80% or improve the site’s odds of appearing on the first page of Google by 5300%.
“We wanted vegans to be able to buy great tasting wine with the confidence that every element is 100% vegan,” said Dr. Arabella Woodrow of Broadland. “There is no need for vegans on miss out on good quality wine.”