This piece originally appeared on Vinepair.com.
Is there such a thing as vegan or vegetarian wine? Yes. That said it’s rarely easy to ascertain whether a wine is vegan or vegetarian from its label – with some key exceptions we’ll cover later. But first let’s ask a more basic question: what makes a wine vegan or vegetarian? We need to dive into the winemaking process a bit to find the answer.
As the growing season comes to an end, grapes are harvested, destemmed, and crushed. The juice from those crushed grapes is then fermented (converting sugar into alcohol) and macerated(extracting pigments from the skins, seeds and if the winemaker chooses, the stems) to become young wine. This young wine is then drawn off the skins and seeds to be vinified further – turning it into the wine we see on store shelves and in our glasses.