Join us for Veganuary at Butlers!
First things first, what makes a wine vegan?
It seems strange to wonder whether or not a beverage made primarily from grapes would be suitable for vegans, however this has become an increasingly common consideration when choosing wines for many drinkers.
The potential for wines to be vegan or not occurs during the production of wine, specifically the clarification process. The process for clarifying wines is called “fining” which will frequently use animal-based products such as casein (a protein from milk), egg whites or isinglass (a fish byproduct). If wines are not fined, majority would look hazy/cloudy. This is where the fining agents come in, the elements in the products will “glomb” onto the proteins dissolved in the wine and cause them to precipitate out and collect at the bottom of the tank. The result is a crystal clear wine.
- It is most often quality white, rosé and sparkling wines that use isinglass for fining.
- It is most often red wines that use egg whites or casein for fining to remove bitter-tasting phenolics.
These methods however are not set in stone, with innovation, advances in technology and trends towards the preference for 0 animal byproducts, many wineries big and small utilise techniques that allow them to forego the traditional methods listed above. The use of organic minerals like bentonite can replace isinglass and many wineries will use ceramic filters in place of animal products.
Quick tips on Vegan wines:
- Wines that are unfiltered/unfined will be vegan.
- Just because a wine is organic does not necessarily mean it is vegan.
- Biodynamic wines can be made with vegan clarification practices however the use of animal bones in the vineyard can negate this.
We are proud to stock an extensive range of vegan wines in tons of styles to suit everybody’s taste. Here are 3 whites and 3 reds to get you started on our selection.
Secateurs AA Badenhorst Chenin Blanc 2021 - Badenhorst is a family run estate, owned by cousins Hein & Adi. Their family have over 50 years’ experience in South Africa’s wine industry, with their grandfather managing the iconic Groot Constantia. Chenin Blanc with a sprinkling of Palomino and another secret grape, the grapes are hand picked with great care and some of the juice is also fermented in older casks and big foudres.
Muscadet Sevre et Maine, Sur Lie, Selection des Cognettes 2020 - The Perraud family produce their outstanding Muscadet wines in a fully organic fashion. Careful growing and vinification, with 6 months on lees give a wine that is fresh, floral and citrus with a hint of hazelnut and a delicious mouthfeel. Top class from an iconic region.
Raza Vinho Verde Blanco 2021 - An incredible low alcohol (just 11.5%) wine from Portugal made in a signature style that leaves it with a slight sparkle. A blend of 3 native grapes; Arinto (50%), Azal (35%) and Trajadura (15%). Crisp and light with a fruity finish.
False Bay, Old School Syrah, 2020 - False Bay is a winemaking project in South Africa. The winery is in an area know for it's complex biodiversity, so they have to be respectful of the surrounding environment. They adopt a hands off approach to wine making, everything is done very naturally. Savoury but polished and seriously appealing. Full yet elegant with bramble aromas and cream, cassis and black cherry flavours on the palate with structure provided by fine tannins with a long rich, ripe finish.
Cuvee Dissenay Pinot Noir 2021 Pays d'Oc- Cuvée Dissenay hails from vineyards tucked between mountains and the Mediterranean, which gives grapes the perfect balance of warm sun and cooling breezes. Glassy red ruby in colour. Intense black fruit aroma with vanilla and cloves. Fine grained tannin on the palate with velvety texture. Long and lingering with a touch of mocha.
Magnifico Rosso Fuoco Primitivo di Manduria 2021 - Made with Puglia’s principle variety Primitivo, this wine is an intense purple colour which tends towards garnet with age. Inky and full-bodied, with great tannic, alcoholic and acidic structure balanced by luscious, fresh dark fruits, chocolate and coffee. This is a gorgeous wine which is incredibly moreish and boasts a long, satisfying finish.
We know that it can often be difficult finding fantastic food that is also vegan and therefore wine pairings can also be in short supply. Below are 2 dishes that are great matches for a white and red in the previous selection of wines.
The Raza is an incredible food wine, its low alcohol and slight zest work wonderfully with Thai and Indian cuisine however I think pairing it up with a vegan burrito bowl made with sweet potato, pickled onions and zesty guacamole would be one to remember.
For the Pinot Noir the earthy flavours balanced by a lighter texture work fantastically with a broccoli and cauliflower pasta made with tahini sauce. Alternatively you could go for a classic mushroom risotto with shaved truffles.
Follow this link to have a deep dive into our vegan selection available on our website, or pop into the shop and have a chat with a member of staff that can point you in the right direction.
If you are happy for us to choose for you we have created a special Vegan pack this January to make things even easier!