These are the best plant-based wines to celebrate World Vegan Day

These are the best plant-based wines to celebrate World Vegan Day


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It’s World Vegan Day. ‘But isn’t all wine vegan? It’s made from fermented grapes for Pete’s sake!’ If that’s your inner monologue as you read this, you’re a logical, intelligent person and I salute you.

Heck, you probably even say things like ‘circle back’ and ‘let’s double-click on that later’ during work Zoom calls. If that’s you, then you’ll definitely be interested to know that not all wine is plant based, and here’s why.

Harmless molecules show up in the wine during fermentation and turn it cloudy, so winemakers get rid of them to make the end product look clear. They use something called a ‘fining agent’ and some of those are animal-derived, such as gelatine, mushed-up fish bladders, chitosan from crustacean shells, egg whites or casein found in milk.

Nowadays, you’ll catch producers turning to pea or potato protein, carbon or clay, which basically do the same job but allow them to call the wine vegan.

Bizarrely, beeswax is also sometimes used to seal bottles, along with milk-based glues to stick cork fragments together. These two things won’t stop a wine being called vegan though – the term ‘vegan’ on a bottle is assessed by whether the wine has come into contact with animal-derived products.

It’s a time-consuming, bureaucratic process, but over 60% of wines are now vegan certified. Retailers have an impressive array of wines that have been nowhere near an animal product, so it’s easy as plant-based pie to find a good one. Here are three of my picks.

1. Sparkling: The Best Marques De Los Rios Cava Brut, Spain

‘Have-a, Cava’, should be Cava’s strapline. Turns out we’ve been pronouncing it wrong this whole time. Now we’re correctly calling it ‘Ca-va’, not ‘Car-va’, it’s worth noting that Spain’s sparkling is perhaps the best value fizz on the market.

Take this one, under £10 for a beautifully crafted fluteful of lemon and Golden Delicious apple-flavoured bubbles, made in the same way as Champagne. Keep it to yourself though, we wouldn’t want the price to go up.

Buy it for £9.25 from Morrisons.

2. White: Irresistible Viognier Pays d’Oc, France

Jean-Claude Mas is going to think I’m stalking him, the way I bang on about him and his bottles. Well then, he shouldn’t make such good quality, versatile wine, should he?

Co-op isn’t wrong to call this ‘irresistible’, it’s like biting into a giant peach with that juicy texture and mouth-gushing zing factor. It’s the perfect white to move on to now there’s a definite nip in the air.

Buy it for £8 from the Co-op.

3. Red: Found Alicante Bouschet, Portugal

Fun fact (for a wine anorak like me, at any rate): While most red grapes rely on their skin to bring the colour, Alicante Bouschet is one of the few to also have red pulp. These unicorns have their own umbrella name, ‘teinturier grapes’.

Given their pigment superpowers, the wine is super-dark in colour, so strap yourself in for intense black cherry and bramble flavours… and extremely purple teeth.

Buy it for £8 from M&S.

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