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Is Wine Raw? Is it Vegan?

I’ve heard that even though wine isn’t heated as it’s prepared, some (or most) wine isn’t actually vegan, which is also important to me. Does anyone know more about that?

I do love wine, it’s my one drinking weakness. Plus, it’s easy for me to rationalize, because three decades of studies have pretty much shown that a glass or two of red wine a day is good for the heart. However, my nutritionist cautions against too much of it, because of the sugar…

I did find one bit about wine being raw, but the author doesn’t have a very good opinion about the stuff…

Wine can be raw, but while it may have some health benefits – I say drink FRESH made grape juice instead. Exclude wine from the raw food diet. Alcohol does kill brain cells.

Would anyone care to share their knowledge or opinions about wine with me?


  • humanimalhumanimal Raw Newbie

    I think wine is raw and is very healthy, in moderation of course :) Wine is simply fresh squeezed grape juice which is then fermented. Kills brain cells! huh?! Im not too sure about that one there, but excess wine will do some damage to the liver. Well this is just my opinion about wine. I am Italian and enjoy my wine:)

  • I cannot recall at this exact moment what website I was on, but it was Raw Foods related and they featured a link to this site: http://www.theorganicwinecompany.com/

    It looks interesting and they appear to omit conventional ingredients and additives. I have always enjoyed a great glass of wine and really don’t feel so bad about continuing to do so. I think that one must be a steadfast label reader and proceed from there!

  • kandacekandace Raw Newbie

    I agree – I enjoy a glass of red wine in the evening. I asked a local wine seller about organic and non-organic wine. His opinion was that most good wines are organic (or fairly close). He said that, because pesticides ruin the taste of the grapes, a good wine maker wouldn’t use grapes laced with pesticides. I found that reassuring, but also try to still buy organic. A couple organic wines I’ve enjoyed are Ladybug Red and the Cooper Mountain Pinot.

    The Organic Wine Company looks great. I especially like that they have a selection of vegan wines. I thought all wines were vegan, but after looking around a bit, I found that animal ingredients are often used in the filtering process.

    The most common animal ingredients used in wine making are isinglass (a very pure form of gelatine from sturgeon fish bladders), gelatine (extract from boiled cow’s or pig’s hooves and sinews), egg whites (or albumin) and caseins (a protein from milk). Very occasionally blood has been used as an additive – “sangre de toro” means “bulls blood” – but rarely literally any more. This ingredient was declared illegal for use in European wines in the aftermath of the outbreak of BSE (mad cow disease). (source)

  • I think you’re right about the organic-like practices of many vineyards. My winemaking experiece is particular to Oregon, but most producers I’ve encountered choose to certify under an organization called LIVE . This isn’t exactly organic because it allows for a lot of sulphur and copper sprays, but it does encourage the sort sustainable farming practices that generally disallow chemical applications such as the almost ubiquitious Roundup (2,4-D).

    White wines are also very commonly filtered through diatomacous earth, or the discarded shells of diatoms. Other than that, I’ve never seen anything like those animal products make it into a wine. The “first blood” or saignee used to make rose wines is actually just the juice that comes off as the grapes are handled. Though, none of those additives would surprise me.

    I think the most common red wine additive other than sulphur would be di-ammonium phosphate, added as “yeast food” to push the fermentations along faster and more completely. Dry wines have almost no residual sugars, so that’s not much of a worry unless it’s a dessert or appertief wine.

    A fast fermentaiton can get up to about 104F—does that count as cooked?

    Cooper Mountain makes a crazy good line of bio-dynamic wines with no sulphates or chemical additives from organic grapes, though you will pay for the priviledge of sampling a wine that isn’t supposed to be possible. :) They do use egg-whites for enhancing “mouth feel.” Sokol Blosser also makes a good organic wine.

  • Interesting.. I’m trying raw for a few weeks now and I was JUST thinking about wine, cause I’m definately having some later on this evening. I have seen one bagged wine in my life that actually CONTAINED fish… That’s gross…

  • Even though it has the egg whites, I picked up a bottle of the Cooper Mountain today. I’ve had it before – and I love it. It’s about $16 a bottle here. They also have “reserve” bottles, each from a specific terroir, but I haven’t tried one yet as they’re double the price. They are also, however, organic and biodynamic.

    marienord: Where on earth did you see wine with fish in it???

  • It’s in Australia… It’s a bagged wine… Foul stuff. I had it way long before I knew it contained fish and it grossed me out when I found out about it. I’ll check it out next time I go to the liquor store

  • Most of the wine I drink is wine I make myself. I don’t recall ever seeing ingredients like “isinglass” or gelatin in any of the products I make wine with. I make some wine from kits and some from scratch. If you’re concerned about a wine being organic and not containing animal products you should think about making your own wine. My wines only cost me about $3 a bottle to make and they’re really good.

  • I think that this is a weak point for raw foodists. We often try and sustanciate our bad habits by saying that doctors recommend it or there are studies to prove it’s good. The entire raw food movement shuns conventional medicine practices so using it to rationalize things like wine seems a bit odd. I have read raw books that recommend wine in small amounts but I would never drink it.

    I guess it’s really up to you though. How do you feel after drinking it?


  • I usually feel fine after drinking it… it’s probably the same as with raw concentrated sweeteners – it’s best to avoid ‘em if you can. My nutritionist, also, tells me that it’s something I should avoid as much as possible. Mainly, it’s just how much sugar that’s the problem.

    However… while I shun much conventional medical practice, I should say that I don’t in any way shun science! You just have to read into it a bit. You could find a study to prove that just about anything bad for you, and you could almost certainly find a study suggesting it’s a “miracle drug!” But common sense tells me that, for instance, drinking herbal tea all day as I now do is much better than drinking coffee all day as I used to do. Even though I’ve not yet seen a study of them side-by-side, per se.

    So yeah, when in doubt, I try to practice moderation, but that’s just me. I’m not 100% raw yet, nor have I given up wine 100% yet. But they are probably both very worthwhile goals.

  • humanimalhumanimal Raw Newbie

    I feel no effects from it because I pour myself only a small amount and sometimes water it down. I guess it just depends on the individuals culture and backround. I am Italian so I grew up around my parents who drink wine in moderation. Now I do not agree with people drinking 2 glasses or more a day. Over time that will kill the liver. Another great drink to substitute for wine would be kombucha, which is a gently cultured tea. If you are interested, check this website out.


    Additional info may of course be found simply by typing in”kombucha” in google and yahoo.


  • Vauhn, would you know where would I be able to buy some kombucha in Portland? That website you mentioned says they only sell it in Ashland health food stores.

  • Kandace loves her Kombucha! We’ve found it at Whole Foods, New Seasons, and Wild Oats here in Portland – just look in the refrigerated aisle.

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    i got to this thread through the teenagers post. i had earlier asked about the effects of wine… i’m going to give kombucha a try. i think the main reason i always revert to wine, is, like humananimal i grew up in a “european” setting where wine is central to the evening meal. it’s like lighting a candle, or using forks. so, having a nice substitute (provided i like kombucha) would be helpful.

    i decided my goal was give up wine completely when i started noticing that it made me sleepy… and my reason for being raw was to feel more awake. so it just seemed contradictory.

    for those concerned about the egg whites, i know there are some “vegan” wines available out there.

  • There is organic, vegan wine. I wrote about this on my blog a short while ago… Vegan: Just because the wine is Raw and even Organic, doesn

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    ok, so my intention is still not to drink wine much, but here is a handy website i found that lists a whole bunch of popular brands of wine and which ones are “vegan friendly”

    how cool is that?


  • As an alternative to Raw Vegan Red Wine (which I have given up) there is also Raw Sake (Nama Sake) which you can make mixed drinks! Sorry to say I gave that up too!! I get too much of a great feeling just being Pure Raw and Vegan!! Now kombucha certainly gives me a good buzz.

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