Pinot for Vegans
Strict vegans are challenged to determine which wines are vegan since wine labels do not always provide the
information that qualifies whether the wine is vegan. Ingredient labels are mandated by the US government on
food, non-alcoholic drinks and in Colorado, even marijuana. The ingredients in wine other than sulfites usually
remain a mystery to the consumer.
Many wines are “fined,” a process to clarify wine by removing sediment in which the winemaker may use
animal-based products such as albumin (egg whites), casein (a milk protein) or isinglass (a fish byproduct).
Although these animal-derived products are removed before a wine is bottled, the wine might not be
considered strictly vegan. Some wines are also filtered through animal products before bottling.
Current wine labeling laws do not require a listing of animal-derived products used in vinification or the
admission that the wine is unfined or unfiltered. Wines that are both unfined and unfiltered before bottling, not
uncommon for domestic Pinot Noir, are considered vegan. Organic or biodynamic wines may or may not be
Foursight Wines in Anderson Valley was the first Anderson Valley winery to list ingredients on their wine labels,
and among the first in the United States to include a statement for vegetarian and vegan wine drinkers (see
label above and Pinot Noir reviews in this issue).
Vegans who want to drink a particular Pinot Noir (or anyone who wants to know a wine’s ingredients) should
contact the producer of the wine to see if it qualifies as vegan. You can also visit the website,
www.barnivore.com, for a listing of vegan wines among nearly 25,000 entries. For those who shop for wine at
Trader Joe’s Markets, the employees at the stores can access a list of all of their vegan products, including