Vegan-friendly wines: What are they … where are they … (and here’s three)


I don’t have any “special dietary requirements” when it comes to food and drink but I know many of you do.

When the Co-op told me they were extending their vegan-friendly range of wines I thought “oooo”  shame on me, I could be helping you with this one, especially as Veganuary was a popular lifestyle choice a few weeks ago.

When is a wine vegan-friendly?

Animal products might be used in the winemaking process at the fining stages – that’s when the impurities are removed from the wines to create a clear liquid.

These fining agents can include egg white, isinglass (which comes from fish) and charcoal which could be made from animal bones. They are added to the wine and the “cloudy bits” cling to them and drift downwards leaving the wine clear. A wine is vegan-friendly when the fining process is done using a non-animal product, such as pea protein.

Three vegan-friendly wines

The Co-op has just added eight new wines to its vegan range, including Co-op Irresistible Viognier Pays d’Oc (£7.49, 13.5% abv) which I shared with a friend. It has honeyed notes together with dried apples, peach and citrus and a shake of spice which adds an interesting dimension. It isn’t overly acidic and has a touch of creaminess. A huge bowl of chicken pasta was its suppertime pal.

Marks & Spencer has more than 420 vegan-friendly wines, which is over half its range. There’s a lovely red, Terres de Moraines Madiran 2013 (£9.50, 14.5% abv) which is full-bodied, laden with red berries and spice, and rich and silky with soft tannins. It is perfect with a grilled steak.

If sparkling wine is your thing then Aldi’s delightful Organic Extra Dry Prosecco (£7.99, 11.5% abv) pops a fruit flurry of pears and apples, together with gentle aromas of acacia flowers. It is vegan-friendly with a fizzy flourish.

I find a vegan-friendly drinks’ database

The alcohol education charity Drinkaware has some vegan guidelines on its website and from there I followed a link to which is a really useful community-created database of alcoholic drinks.

I know it is US-based but even so I tapped away at its 37,000 entries to discover vegan-friendly drinks in the UK. Here are some of the search results (I’m sure you can find more) and bear in mind the list won’t be exhaustiive, as it relies on community submissions. Please tell me if you know of a better database and I’ll include here.


Learn more about being a vegan at

This is based on a piece first published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

Spar wines: New own-label wine range is a winner on taste and your pocket

Spar wines

I have to be quick to keep up with the ever-changing selection of wines on our High Streets and when I catch up with some wine ranges I wish I hadn’t.

But the newly-released Spar wines have had people talking. I gave a nod to The Alphabet Series Pinot Noir at Christmas and it is one of my absolute favourites in the new range. It also received multiple thumbs-ups when I shared it in a wine-tasting. I didn’t say where the wine was from or how much it was (£6, actually) until I’d scouted for opinions around the room. There were lots of “oooohs” when the pinot noir’s identity was revealed.

What’s appertaining then. Spar has set itself a mission to make choosing wine simpler for its customers and has begun its journey with the release of five entry level wines for £5 and, in the level above, there are a dozen varietal Spar wines in an Alphabet Series at £6 each.

 One of the drivers behind the range is Master of Wine Philippa Carr who definitely has the “people touch”. When Philippa was at Asda she developed the Wine Atlas range which brings lesser-known, tasty, varietal wines to the high street shelves (many of them for about a fiver).

Philippa strikes again – together she and the Spar team have created a  wine range definitely worth a look.

At a pocket-friendly price you’d be a fool not to seek out these Spar wines; and with a couple of thousand stores across the country it shouldn’t be too difficult.  They’re jolly decent wines at the price. Here’s six of them.

Spar wines: Three Fruity Everyday wines


Bold Red (£5, 13% abv) is a Spanish wine made from 100 percent tempranillo, the grape at the heart of rioja. This wine has been aged for two months in American oak and despite its name, isn’t deep and gloopy. It is a medium-bodied red with a good nose of jammy fruits and a refreshing fruit flavour with just a hint of spice.

Fresh Rosé (£5, 11.5% abv) is another offering from Spain, cerise in colour from Bobal grapes and has pretty aromas of strawberry and citrus with flavours reflecting much the same.

Fruity White (£5 13% abv) This is a simple South African white, billed as “smooth and mellow”, made from chenin blanc. It’s a kitchen party pourer; not much else to say other than it is an acceptable white at the price to bring out when you need a cheery cheep chink chink!!

Spar wines: Three wines from the Alphabet Range

Pinot Grigio Rosé  (£6, 11.5% abv) is in the Alphabet Series and for a £1 extra offers more of a pink sensation thank the Fresh Rosé . Call me a pinot grigio snob, but when I see the grape on a label I always sigh “oh, well, if I must”. But I really enjoyed this pink from Romania which has aromas of pear, stone fruit and fresh red fruits. It was tasty too.

Sauvignon Blanc (£6, 12% abv) New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc wines have set the tone for many people who enjoy this grape. Spar has sourced its grapes from the Languedoc region of France so you don’t get the punchy fruit notes of a New World version, but a gentler rolling style with citrus and apples. I tasted with a midweek cheese pie; very nice.

Malbec (£6, 13% abv) This Alphabet Series varietal is sourced from its homeland of France, despite Argentina making the grape its own in recent years. Try this wine with a weekend warming casserole after your toes have chilled from a football match or a dog walk. It has soft dark and red fruits and hints of chocolate.

See the full range of Spar wines here and food matching ideas

First published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including: 

Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News –
Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales
– Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle 
– Teesside Gazette – Birmingham Mail –
Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express