Wine for Vegetarians
There are over 35 million vegetarians around the world and probably, many DINKtravelers will join them in participating in environmental conservation and animal protection activities. In that case, your wine-pairing selections will require some changes. Fortunately, now there are more countries that are adopting sustainable and vegan-friendly winemaking practices.
If wine = grapes, isn’t it vegetarian?
During the last steps of winemaking, wine goes through a process of fining and stabilization that helps eliminate proteins, yeast and other organic particles that could affect the taste and quality of this exquisite elixir. In order to achieve it, winemakers use certain animal products that attract those unwanted substances and stick to them creating bigger particles that settle at the bottom of the barrel or tank enabling their extraction. The most common of these products include animal albumin –a protein found in plasma– casein –milk protein–, gelatin –made out of bone-extracted collagen– and fishtail. Feeling queasy?
Organic Vegan Wine
Before choosing a wine bottle in your favorite restaurant, consider that an organic wine is not necessarily vegan. Organic wines are those that are produced through environmentally friendly practices, but that doesn’t mean that no animal products are used in their elaboration. Check the label before tasting it and look for the vegan certification and organic certification logos. This way you’ll make sure you order a 100% vegetarian and sustainable wine.
Vegan Wine Pairing
Wine pairing with meats is quite simple. There’s nothing like a Cabernet Sauvignon to pair a boeuf bourguignon in France, a Merlot for pork dumplings in China or a Syrah for Greek moussaka. However, creating harmony between wine and vegetables can turn out to be quite a challenge that might result in delighting flavors. We recommend avoiding full-bodied wines like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah so as not to overshadow or sour vegetables’ subtle flavors with their considerable content of tannins. Rather than that, order a Pinot Noir or an Italian Sangiovese. If you prefer white wine, try a Sauvignon Blanc for fresh dishes, a Chardonnay for broiled or grilled veggies and a Pinot Grigio for strong-flavored vegetables such as onions and peppers –now you know what to toast with in Paris when you order a dish of ratatouille.
There are several destinations that are joining this new generation of winemakers. Among them, France has become a pioneer in the use of vegetable protein fining agents. In the United States, several vineyards in California are already producing vegan wines, while in Spain, Chile and Argentina, this practice has also become quite trendy.
In your next trip, quench your passion for good wines by participating in this initiative promoted by responsible winemakers.