• No cheese, please

Review: Vegan Wine Tasting at The Bristol Vine

If there's something I love more than wine, it's vegan wine. After starting this journey, alcohol wasn't really something I thought about in terms of sustainability and ethics. it didn't really come onto my radar as something to be weary of, and after asking some friends about it they were in the same position.

I think the confusion mainly came down to the fact that it just hadn't occurred to me that wine wasn't vegan. It's made of grapes, so that makes it healthy right? But after seeing a couple of 'vegan wines' around, and initially assuming they were just hopping on a trend, I dug a little deeper and found out the truth: wine isn't always vegan, and it is often quite disturbing why it's not.

If you'd like to continue in a hazy, unknowing stupor, skip this next paragraph. Essentially, wine isn't vegan because of the clarifying process. The ingredients of this clarifying process are of course not usually listed on the bottles. Depending on the wine, all sorts of animal products can be used in this process, including: blood and bown marrow, milk proteins, eggs, fish oil, gelatine and fish bladders. delicious! Just what I want to be thinking about after pouring myself a large glass of red at the end of a busy week.

Since knowing this, I've become a lot more conscious of the wines I choose. Luckily, I live in Bristol which is a pretty conscious city and there aren't many things you can't get here. The Bristol Loaf has recently opened its doors in Bedminster and to accompany its cafe and deli, there is also a huge selection of wine by The Bristol Vine. The cafe itself isn't vegan (although has plenty of options - I can vouch for this as I have eaten maybe the biggest and best vegan cinnamon swirl I've ever had as well as a taste of a vegan brownie and vegan cookie, all were incredible), but the wine selection mostly is. It states on the website that most wines are organic or vegan and there are even sustainable wines on tap to refill bottles with.

The wines have all been carefully selected, often from less known grape varieties, and there are a lot of them for all different tastes. I was lucky enough to attend thier first (hopefully of many) wine-tasting evenings. Available was a selection of six wines: three white and three red. All were distinctly different, and it was easy to notice these differences even as a novice, especially with the help of the host for the evening, John Baum. It was interesting to compare taste buds as my table was evenly split between ones we rated highly, and ones we didn't, proving that there is something for everyone. The wines were accompanied by some delicious freshly baked bread and olive oil. So delicious I ended up taking some home in my pocket.

The only downside was with Covid-restrictions the venue shut at 10pm. The wine tasting overran so it meant we couldn't sit and enjoy a glass of our favourite wine before we left. That didn't stop me from buying a whole bottle though and enjoying it with some vegan cheese the day after. They must have seen me coming.

As the event was so popular, The Bristol Loaf have plans for more. At £11 a ticket I feel it is well-priced and a really enjoyable evening out. Hey, you might even learn something and if not you'll definitely get to taste some incredible wines.


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