Believe it or not, I very rarely have a drink these days. I created this site over 4 years ago as I was surprised to find out that drinks could sometimes not be suitable for vegetarians. I became vegan shortly after creating the site. I was out of work for 2 months when I started it, but now in full time employment, don't have as much time as I'd like to update the site, especially the wines section which changes from year to year. Therefore your contributions are really appreciated, please keep emailing with any information you may have gathered which will be verified and added to the site, to keep it up to date.
Thanks for your help and thanks for visiting.
Matt / Veggie Wines
When I became Vegetarian 6 years ago (Vegan 3 years later) it was a bit of a minefield. I thought ‘fine I stop eating meat’ but it doesn’t end there. You have to start reading food labels and learning about E numbers, for example I would never have known E120 is made from crushed beetles had it not been for my researching a little further. I also found gelatine to be in some unusual places from iced buns to orange squash.
My thoughts then turned to alcoholic beverages. As I could not find a resource for this and the supermarkets and off licenses didn’t know what I was talking about, I started contacting wine makers directly. I decided to share this information with the world through ‘veggiewines’ as there didn’t seem to be anything similar out there.
The Vegetarian society and the Vegan society do approve some wines, which are listed on their website, however they both list veggiewines as a resource to find out more!
When I have contacted wine makers for veggiewines.co.uk about their production methods, many have assured me their wine is suitable as all the gelatine sinks to the bottom. I responded by giving them a comparison of drinking a glass of water in which (insert unpleasant object here) had been placed, then telling you it’s fine to drink it as it had sunk to the bottom. Then they got my point.
Apart from the vegetarian and vegan aspect, I also found out some other interesting additives used.
I already knew about the possible use of animal ingredients, but I also found out that out of around 60 permitted additives, the most you could ever hope for being listed on a wine label was ‘contains sulphites’.
I found out that sugar has been added to wine for years, especially when grown in northern Europe, where they don’t benefit from the hot sun to sweeten the grapes. And that oak chips are added to cheap wine to make it taste like it’s been aged in an oak barrel.
There have been many prosecutions across Europe where bottles had contained less than 50 percent wine, with the remainder being made up of sugar, water and additives.
The European Union gives an exemption to wine makers from what is otherwise strict labeling in the food and drink industry. Why should alcoholic beverages be treated differently? The Food Standards Agency in the UK wants this to be changed as has been campaigning the EU for the last few years. Producers say it wouldn’t be possible to label wines in this way as products used can vary. To that I’d say write something along the lines of ‘may include the following ingredients in varying quantities’.
I believe if the wine producers legally have to list all the ingredients, they will think twice about adding them in the first place, fearing the power of consumer awareness. Reports suggest it is the sulphites that cause hangovers, so that has to be an added bonus. Not that I would advocate over indulgence of course!
I thought organic wine to be better, but in terms of additives it’s not always better. Just like an organic chicken goes through the same slaughter and processing plant as a non organic one, organic wine can be treated with many of the same additives before being bottled.
Veggiewines is totally non profit, all links are provided free of charge. The website costs about £100/year in hosting fees alone. If you have found the site useful and would like to donate please use the button below. Many thanks
Donations received to date (2006-2010) £ 10.00
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
- Albert Einstein
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