On vegan wine

So far, November’s been rad: great reader response to this interview with a true leader personality; time to revamp BEAUTYCALYPSE pages… Let’s raise a glass! november-and-wine-op

A glass of vegan wine that is.


– you could ask, and you’d be right.
Vegans and allergy sufferers, listen up! A test!

What do you think could the wine in your glass have been filtered with?

a) Eggs
b) Fish intestines
c) Bones 
d) Milk
e) Yikes; it’s all of the above 
f) None of the above, you must be kidding me!

Answer in a sec. Well, depending on how quick you’ll be reading. Let’s give some attention to something different meanwhile.


Enjoying a glass of wine or champagne is a social habit; and even nutritionists say there’s nothing against a glass of red every now and then. The less I’m willing to compromise! I ask the noble liquid of choice to not cause any side effects and to come sans bitter aftertaste of animal cruelty…

Wine, especially bubbly or red, is rich in histamine; and histamine intolerance is something that can affect any of us, but most likely those who already are allergic to that thing or other.

Histamine intolerance can lurk behind a huge variety of unpleasant bodily symptoms:
from skin reactions to digestive problems,
from headaches to dysmenorrhoea,
from sleep disorders to low blood pressure.
A simple prick test at your allergist will reveal a yes or a no. And if the answer is yes, you’ll have to exclude from your diet:
Red wine!
Dark chocolate!!
Walnuts and other nuts (cashews, hazelnuts)! See thee part, my vegan recipes.
Also any sort of pickles, cured/salted foods like smoked salmon, mustard, balsamic vinegar
Say bye.

Question: what remains of a vegan hot dog if you’re allergic to wheat, soy, and pickles?
Answer: hot air.

Bottom line:
If you have ever experienced digestive trouble or pain, headache, sudden rash or redness in your face, or a runny nose after you had just a glass of red (not the crazy Bridget Jones-y number of alcohol units, mind you, one glass), you should consider an allergy test.


But today I’m talking about wine that’s good for vegans and people suffering from allergies alike.
And why so?

What’s in that undisclosed bottle, what’s in that anonymous wine glass? Look for wine labelled “vegan friendly” and “low in histamine”. White wines are naturally lower in histamine – not without exceptions, of course.

Oh, you might have guessed it, the test answer e) is the good one. Don’t scroll!
It was “all of the above”.

Conventional winemaking uses fining methods to make wines clear or to fix the taste, and those methods can include casein and albumin, gelatin and isinglass. Or: milk and eggs; and gelatin from bones and from fish bladderThose are by no means vegan. And three of them are potential allergens!

Vegan friendly wine producers today choose to use alternative fining agents (derived from clay and charcoal) or leave wines uncleared. Those smart people understand not only the ethics of being a cruelty-free gourmet, but also the added benefits of eliminating potential allergens from their fabulous wines. Chapeau! Votre santé 😉


A vegan and an allergy sufferer, united at a glass of wine?

Powered by my own histamin intolerance diagnose, I searched and found a German winemaker who went one step further and created gourmet wines that are vegan and low in/free from histamine. This is brilliant for us, my dear allergic vegans army! 

There is an upcoming LOCALSPOTTER interview I conducted with the aforementioned lady, the beautiful Monika Maria Eller of Eller Finest Selections. Eller’s family runs two wine-growing estates in Rhinehessen, a famous German wine terroir, and produces finest whites, reds, rosés, and sparklings wines.

My purchase included a rich red Dornfelder (full bodied, with notes of plums and spices), a wonderful blanc de noir Spätburgunder (a very pale rosé, fruity and tangy), a 2012 prosecco (peachy flavours and gorgeously fine bead) and a Hugo mix (prosecco + elder flower extract); I was careful to select wines I would probably like following the in-depth descriptions on their webshop, and I wasn’t disappointed.

My next order? A case of brand new vegan, histamine-free and organic Merlot!

On an added note, Eller wines aren’t sulphite-free – another thing that allergy sufferers “adore” – but I know from a well-informed source 😉 that there’s something in development.

Fellow vegans, fellow allergy fighters, have you tried any vegan and/or histamine-free wines lately?
Any favourites you mind sharing?

35 Comments on “On vegan wine

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  2. Note to self, I must remember to look up Monika Maria Eller

    • Yup, and when you’re in B. in September, remind me to bring a bottle of her amaaaazin’ Hugo to hang out in style yo! ❤

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  5. Great info! I had no idea about the histamine in wine. And I thought the the fluoride, pesticide and added sulfites were the culprit. Little did I know about the process entailed to making it. Yuck! So basically now, It’s not just organic wine I need to look for, but vegan also. Thanks for sharing!

    • thank you for visiting!
      and yes, sulfites are culprits indeed, but I have been told if they occur naturally, little can be done; BUT the winemakers can choose not to add it on top.

      I’m glad to have raised this issue with vegan wines. many people approached me when tasting them at my receptions, and asked what magic it was, they were feeling great, no headache, no heat wave, just enjoying it. kindness pays off, huh? 😉

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  10. I use barnivore.com and found lots of good (even local) vegan vines. Two non-local one’s I’ve tried and loved are The Vegan Vine and Frey. Locally, the small wineries will tell you all about their products during tastings and I’ve found them to be very knowledgeable and helpful. I’m new to the concept of histamines in wines though. Interesting.

    • My thoughts exactly: talk to local winemakers, they love interested customers, and will help you understand the process and everything. It also helps strenthen the community – maybe a naive thought, but I find people appreciate it more than you think. Thumbs up for your investigation!

    • Wine, spirits, beer, juice… Any beverage that can get filtered, most probably doesn’t qualitfy as vegan. I hate those hidden bastards…So I’m quite fond of vegan wine for cooking and celebrating!

  11. intestines? bones?! umm I just threw up in my mouth a little. As someone who is intolerant to eggs and dairy I can’t believe I never thought to look more closely at wine – as I definitely feel some side effects. Trying to find vegan wines in toronto is going to be tough – I once asked for their organic wine section and I got an ‘eyes glazing over’ look. That being said, I found this site (http://www.barnivore.com/) which seems like a good starting point for those of us not fortunate enough to live in berlin 😉 Thanks for the info! Have a great weekend lady 🙂


    • yes, just checked barnivore. they offer a nice and working search engine. if I were you, I would pick winemakers who are in the intersection of “local” and “known for good wines” and just approach them directly with your questions. they are thankful for proactive customers, and you might get more advice you need.
      please report! 🙂
      have a great weekend yourself 😉

    • great! support your local winemakers! – also you then get a chance to go to tastings, ask them questions, investigate if* they plan to do something innovational… 🙂

      (*suggest that… hehehe)

      • Next time I am in the supermarket and there is a wine tasting, I will ask them if the wine is vegan!!!!

        • do people in your supermarket know what they are selling? 🙂 in my supermarket, they hardly know what they are doing.

  12. I have given up drinking wine because of all the side-effects it gives me, so it’s good to know that these vegan wines are available. *Blushing* to find myself in your hall of fame section 🙂

    • Hey, but of course you’re there 🙂 and this month I am finally coming to make that page a cozy little parlour just for my VIPs 😉

      And now you know where the side-effects came from. Some people would say “I don’t want to know”. But this is really like “let me in the bloody Matrix”.

      • I always blamed the preservatives so I am keen to try one of our vegan wines to see how I like it and how it likes me.

        • it could be the sulfites, but it could be the fining agents as well. industrial products are full of funny surprises! 😉

          • I knew about the fining agents before but didn’t think about them causing allergies; just always blamed the sulfites. Wonder if honey wines or plum wines etc have similar fining agents?

            • I think they do; even juice gets filtered with gelatine.

  13. I only learned recently that wine isn’t always vegan (I read about it in “Skinny Bitch”), and I haven’t yet tried any vegan wines. And I’m certainly an allergy sufferer, so I like the idea of histamine-free wines too. I looked up the Eller website, but I don’t think they ship to the states. Bummer! I’ll have to look around and see what I can find around here. Great post chica! Celeste 🙂

    • Thank you, Celeste!
      No, Eller are of course limited in their distribution. I wanted the wine to be as local as possible, Rhinehessen – Berlin is better than Southern France – Berlin, right? 🙂

      Oh, and I thought you could get fantabulous vegan wines in California and googled “vegan wine california” 🙂 The results did not look 100% satisfying but not bad neither, something to start looking definitely! (Example: http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=1659&catId=2) I think wines and spirits (and beer, and juices!) are a great topic to investigate on a vegan month.

      • Thanks for doing some wine exploration in California! I’ll check out the link you posted and see what I can find. And yes, this is a great topic for vegan month, especially with the holidays coming up! Have a wonderful day! Celeste 🙂

        • yes, holidays. gosh. I’m putting together check lists of how to green up your holidays. it’s a can of worms!!!! 😀

          • I look forward to your green holiday post – I’m sure you’ll sort it all out and have lots of great info to share!! 🙂

            • oh god – the pressure! 😀 you’re right, I will sort it out. eventually. maybe even in time for holidays, ha!

              btw, I have found you on twitter, yay 🙂