Four bottles of vegan wine

Best vegan wine

Our wine expert on how winemakers are adapting their methods for a changing market, plus the best bottles to buy

Since the Veganuary campaign began in 2014, the number of people taking the vegan pledge for January has soared each year, with many becoming permanent converts when the month is over. Sales of vegan food have boomed as people choose to consume fewer animal products, or eschew them altogether, and the demand for vegan wines has shot up alongside.

So what is vegan wine? Traditionally, animal products such gelatine, isinglass (made from fish bladders), milk proteins and egg whites have been used as fining agents to clarify wine. They are added to the top of the vat and adhere to impurities held in suspension in the liquid as they sink to the bottom. They are filtered out, along with the impurities, before the wine is bottled – so the finished wine contains no animal products but makers are increasingly using vegan-friendly fining agents, including bentonite clay, carbon and proteins derived from peas and potatoes, which do the job just as well.

Labelling can be a minefield. Fining agents don’t need to be disclosed on labels, apart from egg whites and milk proteins, as they are allergens. Official vegan certification is a time-consuming and expensive process so many wineries simply don’t bother, and they may or may not mark their wines as vegan. Having said that, it’s fairly easy to find the info on retailer or winery websites, or via the QR codes that often appear on bottles.

It should be noted that some wines, including most natural wines, are bottled without any fining, as the impurities in the wine are deemed an integral part of their character, adding extra interest and texture. This is why they are often slightly hazy. However, biodynamic viticulture uses preparations made from animal dung, sometimes packed into cow horns, so biodynamic wines aren’t vegan in the strictest sense.

More than 60% of wines are now vegan-friendly, a threefold increase since 2014, and this continues to rise with each vintage. Restaurants and retailers are keen to take them on – Majestic’s range classified as vegan has increased 75% since 2019, while M&S has announced that all its own-label wines will be vegan by 2022.


Five vegan wines to try

St Laurent 2018 Canned Wine Co, £16.30 (three cans), Canned Wine Co

With bright autumn berries and aromatic spices, this is lovely slightly chilled.


Winemaster’s Lot Vacqueyras Blanc, £9.99, Aldi 

Classy white Rhône gently aged in oak barrels with vibrant notes of baked apples, almond blossom and savoury nuts.


Santa Tresa Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2018, £12.99, Ocado

From a forward-thinking organic winery in Sicily – ripe black cherries, silky spices and a touch of leather lifted with a bracing freshness.


La Ferme Saint-Martin ‘Les Romanins’ 2020, £14.95, Les Caves

A blend of organic grenache and syrah made with native yeasts, bottled unfiltered and unfined. Robust with bramble fruit, liquorice and black pepper.


Tesco Finest Blanquette de Limoux, £9.50, Tesco

Made in the same way as champagne but at a kinder price. Soft bubbles, peachy fruit, toasted brioche and a crisp, clean finish.


Here are the results of our 2021 wine awards vegan category

How we chose the winners

The olive team chose 21 categories for own-brand and retailer-exclusive supermarket wines, covering different grape varieties, styles and price points. The supermarkets were invited to enter one wine per category (so they had to choose carefully). Every wine was blind-tasted by a panel of olive judges (led by olive wine columnist, drinks author and sommelier Kate Hawkings), who awarded gold, silver and bronze winners. In some categories, where the standard was high, we awarded joint winners. So, if you see those labels on your next shop – trust us, these bottles are brilliant!

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Best vegan wine

Wine suitable for vegans, with no fining using animal products.

Gold: Asda Extra Special Chenin Blanc, £5.50

Fragrant honeysuckle and tropical fruit notes with some subtle spice and a creamy richness.

Perfect pairing: Try our vegan risotto recipe


Joint silver: M&S Found Gros Manseng, £9

Lots going on here, with a fresh, grassy nose and plenty of ripe, peachy fruit balanced with good acidity and a lime zest finish.

Perfect pairing: Try our jackfruit tacos


Joint silver: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chateau Tanunda Barossa Cabernet Merlot, £11.50

Nicely savoury and earthy with supple blackcurrant fruit and a little vanilla; big and bold but not jammy.

Perfect pairing: Try our vegan chilli con carne

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