Two years ago, When in Rome was still fresh out of the starting blocks as a bleary eyed start-up. No one asked us if our wines were vegan back then. Now we get asked two or three times a week.
In June 2016, the Vegan Society announced that over half a million people in the UK had ditched meat, fish and dairy in favour of a plant-based diet. Embracing their new-found vegan status for a plethora of reasons including animal welfare, physical health and concerns about the environment.
During the same year, Google searches for ‘vegan’ rose by thirty-two percent [wish we could say the same about ‘box wine’] and two whole Veganuarys later we’d hazard a guess that figure is even higher. By a long way.
But ARE your wines vegan?
Yes, around half our wines are vegan friendly – including our Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Refosco, Falanghina and Pinot Grigio – and we’ve just added a vegan status on our online shop to make things clearer.
What makes a wine vegan or veggie?
A wine being ‘vegan’ or ‘veggie’ has nothing to do with the ingredients that go into making it. That’s only grapes and yeast, after all. What actually makes the difference is a part of the wine production process called ‘fining’.
Now, we all love a nice clear glass of wine don’t we? Bits and bobs are for scrumpy cider drinkers, not wine lovers. But getting rid of sediment and other visible molecules that would cloud our wine if left to their own devices is called ‘fining’ – and the four main fining agents used for this are albumin (egg protein), casein (milk protein), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish protein).
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that two are vegetarian – and none are vegan.
Cheerfully, we’re speaking to more and more winemakers across Italy who are starting to use clay, charcoal and vegetable based proteins.
The box wine revolution has certainly come a long way in two years. I wonder how different things will be for vegans and box wine in another two years?