Just the facts: Alcohol, health and which ones are not vegan certifiable

Just the facts: Alcohol, health and which ones are not vegan certifiable

Vegan Society of Canada News
September 14th 2018

Much alcohol and most wines are not vegan-certifiable. The problem, apart from the fact that most labels are probably not vegan-certifiable because of the glue and/or ink, are the fining agents:

Finings are substances that are usually added at or near the completion of the processing of brewing wine, beer, and various nonalcoholic juice beverages. They are used to remove organic compounds, either to improve clarity or adjust flavor or aroma

With regards to winemaking specifically fining is:

[...] the process where a substance (fining agent) is added to the wine to create an adsorbent, enzymatic or ionic bond with the suspended particles, producing larger molecules and larger particles that will precipitate out of the wine more readily and rapidly. Unlike filtration, which can only remove particulates (such as dead yeast cells and grape fragments), fining can remove soluble substances such as polymerized tannins, coloring phenols and proteins; some of these proteins can cause haziness in wines exposed to high temperatures after bottling. The reduction of tannin can reduce astringency in red wines intended for early drinking

Traditional fining agents like casein (milk), albumen (egg white), gelatin and isinglass are all non vegan certifiable. Some of the acceptable vegan-certifiable fining agents are bentonite, diatomaceous earth, yeast, activated carbon, and copper sulfate.

Unfortunately, out of the top 5 selling wine in Ontario for 2017, 4 have been confirmed to be non vegan certifiable. We have no reason to believe data for the rest of Canada differs. Anything not vegan-certified should be further investigated or considered not suitable for vegans. There is much work to do in this field as few corporations are seeking vegan certification. Please contact us if you are interested in making your alcohol vegan.

In addition, in light of the latest research concluding that:

Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero. These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption.

We would never advocate for alcohol consumption as part of a healthy diet. However, it is important that if we decide to consume alcohol we not harm others in the process as much as possible and practicable.