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Something to Wine About

written by Davina Leonard 26th June 2019

Yes, I’m vegan.  No, it really isn’t that difficult. Yes, I feel healthier for it. No, I don’t miss bacon. Yes, it is possible to live without cheese!  No, I don’t mention veganism in every conversation, (but people usually ask about it)! And yes, I still party and drink (vegan) alcohol

Photography by Pinterest

We don’t (but we should) know what goes into most packaged snacks, and that is the same for the bottle of wine we pull off the supermarket shelf… At the end of a long day, your lovely, long-awaited glass of wine could have egg protein (albumin), milk products (casein), animal protein (gelatin) and fish bladder protein (isinglass) in it.

These random products are used during the fining process – to enhance the look and taste of the wine (remove protein, yeast, cloudiness, “off” flavours and colourings, and other organic particles).

Thankfully though, we do better when we know better, and there is a gradual move to be more environmentally conscious and animal-friendly. And as wine buyers ask the vital questions about their favourite beverages, more winemakers around the world are using clay-based fining agents or activated charcoal to clarify their wine thus giving us amazing vegan wine.

There is not a great difference in production time, price or quality between vegan or non-vegan wines – so why not go clean and cruelty-free, and choose a Bordeaux without bits of beef or a glass of fizz without fish!

To drink clean and cruelty-free, I do a few things: I regularly consult Barnivore for a fun database where you can type in the name of your beer, wine or spirit and it will tell you, based on direct communication with the manufacturers, all of the vegan-friendly products.

The staff at Le Decanter at ABC Place, (0729867403) are pleasantly helpful and knowledgeable about the vegan wines they have in stock.

But when you haven’t planned ahead and you find yourself blinking at the limited selection in a petrol station shop one weekday evening, just go for the cheap and cheerful Gato Negro whites NOT reds, or Tall Horse reds NOT whites – vegan sipping for under Ksh 1000!  And apart from Amarula and Baileys (cream based), the majority of spirits and liquors are safe. 

For beers I drink anything from Bateleur Brewery – their whole beer range is fully vegan, preservative and stabiliser free, and they are constantly brewing weird and wacky concoctions like the Verreaux Coffee Ale (containing 100% Arabica coffee) and the Fruit Fly IPA (containing real mango pulp)!

As we pay closer attention to what food we put into our bodies, let’s do the same with what we drink – and if you can have a clean, pure glass of wine – minus any animal by-products, why wouldn’t you? 


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