Just in Time for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving: Vegetarian Wine 101

Last week, I started my two-week Just in Time for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving posts. Last Monday, the post was on gadgets and other items to make all that cooking just a bit easier (I even found this neat gadget which scores chestnuts for you - very clever). The last post was on unique hostess gifts that aren’t expensive (I even found one for just over $5).

Today, we’ll look at vegetarian wine. And, later this week, I have a little etiquette question for you to ponder over your Thanksgiving meal (it is sure to come up for you, too).

Let’s pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s get started . . .

You would think wine was vegetarian. After all, it is mostly grapes with a dash of yeast and a pinch of sulphites. So what’s not vegetarian about that?

Well, nothing. The Not Vegetarian part comes in during the processing.

See, when wine is processed, an agent is introduced to make the wine clear (without it, your wine would be unappetizingly hazy). Now, there are different types of clarifying agents. Some are not animal-based. But some are.

Such as egg whites, gelatin (from pigs and cows), and isinglass (from sturgeon fish). (Some European countries also use blood, but it is not used in the US.)

Now here is the tricky part: The label of your wine does not list what clarifying agent was used. So you have no way of knowing if it vegetarian or not.

Which means that your only solution is to buy a wine that specifically states that it is vegetarian (or vegan).

Vegetarian or vegan wine
Where can you get vegetarian wines? Well, more and more vineyards are making vegetarian wines. Meaning that your choices are getting greater and greater. So great, in fact, that it is far too many for me to cover. So here are a few places to get you started:
- Frey Vineyards
- The Organic Wine Company
- Wrights Wines
- French Wine Online
- And, because beer has the same issues, here is a link for our beer drinking friends

Now that I have the wine, what’s the best way to drink it?

If you are going to do healthy for your body, you might as well do healthy for the earth and drink with recycled glass wine goblets.

My favorite find is the Heavenly Glass wine glasses from Rosanna. Made from recycled Coke glasses (is this karmic or what?), these have a pleasingly substantial weight, an elegant shape, and a delicately ethereal design. Pair these with some of the matching voltives full of beeswax candles, or even the matching hurricane with one gorgeous pillar candle, and I see a romantic evening in your future.

And how do I open that pesky bottle?
I gotta say, you can’t go wrong with a Victorinox Swiss Army knife. (Sure, there are fancier implements around. But you just can’t beat a Swiss Army knife for versatility.)

There are two knives that are especially handy. First, there is the Waiter knife. Not only does it come with a corkscrew, but it also has everything from a can opener to a blade. Now wouldn’t that be a convenient thing to have in your kitchen.

Then, there is the Picnicker.

Once again, you have your corkscrew. But you also have a can opener, a bottle opener, a blade, and all sorts of other goodies. Now doesn’t it sound like the perfect thing to have stashed next to your vegetarian wine when you are taking your sweetie out for a lazy afternoon of a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou? I think yes!

But what if I'm just not a wine drinker?
No worries. Certainly you can have juice and all sorts of non-alcoholic drinks, such as the flavored waters from Hint.

We've tried a few flavored waters in the past and hated them. But the Hint waters we liked. Sure, the taste factor is really low (the watermelon flavored water tastes predominately like, erm, water as opposed to watermelon), but there is a wonderful lack of preservatives and the such. And, it does smell like watermelon, which is lovely.

(FYI, my personal favorite is the blackberry. But, then, I've never met a blackberry I didn't like.)

So I say if you're going non-alcoholic this year, then do it with style and pour the flavor of Hint water you like best in one of the lovely Rosanna recycled glass wine glasses and enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!