There's Quite Likely Something Fishy in Your Wine - Maybe Try a Vegan Vintage?

If you'd rather not know about all the disgusting additives that may be lurking in your favorite Sauvignon blanc, read no further. Marissa A. Ross, wine editor of Bon Appétit magazine, is about to reveal some not-so-tasty secret ingredients in the third episode of her off-the-wall and eye-opening video series Drink Sustainably.


"So you know when people are like, is this wine vegan, and that sounds crazy?" Ross asks. 

With so many dietary fads (gluten-free, low-carb and beyond) being debunked as soon as they're popularized, it's normal to approach vegan wine with skepticism. But Ross explains that vegan wine is "really not that crazy. What's crazy is that there are plenty of wine companies out there that use these additives like egg whites and gelatins to make wine clearer."

Gelatin—a protein made by boiling the skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and bones of animals, mostly cows or pigs—has been used as a clarifying agent in the winemaking process since ancient Roman times. To this delicious list of animal-derived fining agents is also added blood, marrow, crustacean shells and fish bladders (which not too long ago underwent scrutiny for being used as an ingredient in some popular beers).

Do color and clarity matter for wines, as they do with diamonds? Ross thinks not. "Why people think that a clearer wine is an indication of quality is beyond me," she says.

So if it's not worth it, even omnivores may opt to avoid the nasty stuff and drink vegan (aka low-intervention or natural) wines.

In this episode, Ross reviews a Chenin blanc from the Loire Valley of France that has a "maple-y, vanilla-y flavor and smell to it" and seems best after dinner.

Her verdict? "It's a fun, cool wine. ... I really like it, though. It's tight."

This is a wine with a name so long we couldn't wait for her to enthusiastically mispronounce it, as she does each episode of "Drink Sustainably." Here's what she calls (it takes two images for her to attempt the full name):

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"614941","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"757","style":"width: 640px; height: 469px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1034"}}]]

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"614942","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"777","style":"width: 640px; height: 531px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"937"}}]]

In other words:

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"614940","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"766","style":"width: 640px; height: 349px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1406"}}]]

The only thing sadly missing from her review is her famous "chug test" (see the first and second episodes). Could it be that chugging is not appropriate for such a "fun, cool," after-dinner wine? Or are vegan drinkers lightweights? We'll have to make our own assumptions.

Watch the third episode below:

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