How to tell if a wine is vegan, and where to buy vegan wine in Hong Kong
The wine was a Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2012 from Italys Piedmont region. Barolo is one of Italys top red wines, and I was anticipating some beautiful juice. But my attention was drawn to a conspicuous symbol on the bottom right of the back label. It said Vegan, with the capital V stylised as the leaves of a sunflower, inside a circle suggestive of the sun. Wait a minute, you might ask: isnt wine just fermented grape juice? How could it not be vegan, a description that rules out animal products? The answer is complicated. It touches on how wine is made, and perhaps as importantly, how it is labelled. As consumers are increasingly interested in the provenance of their foods and beverages, they are more accepting (and demanding) of labels such as organic, sustainable or biodynamic. More wine drinkers want to know how their wines are made and what goes into them. The movement for natural wines is in part a rebellion against the dozens of additives approved for use in winemaking. The United States and other governments generally do not require producers to divulge what ingredients they use; we just assume they use only grapes, and maybe yeast.
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