Vegetarian wine: Looking for the little green V

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As a bona fide vegetarian myself I have to confess, I’ve never stopped to think about whether the wine I drink is ‘suitable’. It’s just never crossed my mind; I mean it’s not an obvious assumption to make that a glass of wine could possibly lead to a meaty moral dilemma.

So where does the meat factor come in? Well, many winemakers clarify their wines by ‘fining’; this process was previously done using bull’s blood (yummy), but since the BSE predicament bull’s blood was swiftly taken off the menu. Now it’s done using such delights as isinglass, which is obtained from fish bladders, egg whites and gelatin from pig bones. image from shutterstock

So I naturally imagined that I would now have to search with a fine-toothed comb for a bottle of nice wine that wouldn’t make me some sort of pseudo-veggie. As it turns out, I was wrong. After some investigation it turns out veggie friendly wines are widely available and a lot of wines in fact are ok for us veggies…so, thankfully, I don’t have to give up my favourite merlot. Vegetarian wines are fined with an agent derived from clay and with websites such as www.veggiewines.co.uk you can see exactly which wines are acceptable, and the lists are extensive!

However, it did get me thinking because there are wines out there that aren’t fit for vegetarians, and there’s no real way of telling as there are no obligations to state its suitability on the bottle. This subject could open a seriously packed can of worms about how available certain types of information are or should be. We’ve already heard the debate about ingredients and calorie content not being a mainstay on our favourite bottles of wine, but when it comes to shattering someone’s ethical principles for a glass of the good stuff, well it would be nice for a bit of consideration. That little green V would go a long way to show people that there are plenty of veggie appropriate wines out there. The benefit of wine shopping online enables us to see, depending on an obliging merchant, which wines are suitable: Majestic’s Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010/2011 Grifone at £6.24, Oddbins’ Luis AlegreTempranillo 2010 at £7.25 and Vintage Roots’ Organic Blanc at £7.04 are to name a few.

So vegetarians and carnivores alike can delight in the pleasures of drinking the very best kind of grape juice. Cheers!

Written by Emily Meddings