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Your Guide to Vegan Wine

If there’s one wonderful thing about being an adult, it’s that our version of grape juice has alcohol in it. Such is the beauty inherent in wine; it's a rich, sensuous beverage that makes grown-up life more bearable.

But here’s the thing to know about vino: it isn’t always vegan. Animal products are still commonly used as part of the production process in many wineries. Isinglass, or fish bladder; egg whites; gelatin; or casein (derived from cow’s milk) are common filtering agents.

Unfortunately, wineries don't have to list their ingredients on the label, so there’s no way to tell if a wine is vegan just by looking at it. Luckily, there are more brands of sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free wines on the market than ever these days, so it’s easy to make a conscious choice about your dinnertime beverage.

Unsurprisingly, wine is the Seed staff’s favorite beverage (we are a food and wine fest, after all!) — so we’re pretty well-versed on this delightful drink. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite vegan wine labels:

Vegan Vine Grown and produced by Northern California’s certified-sustainable Clos LaChance Winery, Vegan Vine wines are also a passion project of NBA great (and Seed headliner) John Salley. There are two varieties currently available for wine lovers to order online: a Cabernet Sauvignon (2013) and a Chardonnay (2013).

Frey Vineyards This Mendocino County, California, winery has the distinction of being the nation’s first organic and biodynamic winery. That means the team uses farming methods that protect the soil, groundwater, and wildlife of the winery. Frey offers a wide array of varietals including a Biodynamic Chardonnay (2014), an Organic Syrah (2014), an Organic Pinot Grigio (2015), and an Organic Cabernet Sauvignon (2014), among others.

Green Truck Wines This CCOF-certified organic, vegan-friendly line of wines originates in California’s Mendocino and Lake Counties. A branch of the Red Truck Wines brand, Green Truck makes some lovely vinos, including Chardonnay (2013), Cabernet Sauvignon (2011), Sauvignon Blanc (2014), Zinfandel (2011) and Petite Sirah (2013).

There are LOTS of other individual wines that are vegan-friendly, so we recommend checking out Barnivore.com for an exhaustive list of which wines (and spirits and beers) are and aren't suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

We'll sum up with words from one of the world’s finest writers (and true lover of all fine libations), Ernest Hemingway: “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”

Photo courtesy of Clos LaChance.

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