Most vegetarians know that, because of a filtering process using fish bladder, a lot of wine and champagne isn’t vegetarian. Most vegetarians – at least, the ones I know – get a little lax with their vegetarianism when they’re in a pub or a restaurant and want a glass of wine. I suppose you could ask to see the bottle and check the label for a ‘suitable for vegetarians’ sign on it but, as there’s currently no law for wine manufacturers to specify the ingredients in their wine, it’s unlikely the label will be of any help.
With so many wines available behind the bar, you’d be hard-pressed to remember which are vegetarian and which aren’t. I’m quite clued up on which lagers are vegetarian (something that hadn’t occurred to me until my friend Tracey told me Fosters isn’t vegetarian, so I investigated further to see which other popular lagers are veggie and which aren’t) but when it comes to wine, I haven’t a clue so when I’m in a restaurant or pub I’ll just ask for white wine and, if given a choice, choose Sauvignon Blanc (not because it’s more likely to be vegetarian but because I like it).
For wine to drink at home, however, I’m slightly more strict, mostly because supermarkets have really upped their game when it comes to labelling and I find when it comes to their own brand wine, they’re usually labelled ‘suitable for vegetarians’ if applicable. I can’t speak for all the supermarkets (I haven’t checked Aldi, for example) but my local Tesco, where I buy 95% of my wine, certainly clearly label theirs if they’re suitable, which means nine times out of ten, I’ll buy a bottle that’s labelled suitable for vegetarians as my conscience won’t allow me to buy something I’m dubious about. If you’re wondering about the other one time out of ten, this’ll probably be because there’s a great offer on. I know… bad vegetarian!
Today though, I discovered if you go to the Tesco wine website, you can filter the wines out to only show those that are vegetarian and not just the Tesco own brand of wine, but all of them. You can also filter the website to show only vegetarian champagne and, unlike on the wine page, there’s also a vegan category (only one vegan champagne though; sorry vegans).
So, although we may relax our principles when drinking wine in a pub or restaurant, when it comes to buying wine in the supermarket, we’re pretty much sorted.
[This post was written on behalf of Tesco but all views are my own]