Planet Arborist

Is my wine vegan and sustainable? A delicious inside scoop for wine lovers who care about the planet, health and happiness!

  • October 27, 2020
  • by Amanda Thomson - Founder Thomson & Scott

What’s in a bottle?

Wine is the only consumable good that isn’t required by law to list the ingredients on the label. Many dark oenological secrets are kept this way and consumers are left completely unaware of harmful chemicals used on the grapes, hidden sugar content in the bottle, and that many bottles are neither vegetarian nor vegan. Thomson & Scott was born out of the desire to lead the global movement of transparency in wine and wine labeling.

Is organic wine better?

You can’t make good wine with bad grapes. Using organic certified grapes ensures our fruit is in the best possible condition to turn into amazing wine. Of course, our skilled winemakers are the ones who convert the humble grapes into delicious fizz, but giving them the best quality fruit helps a huge amount. Another wonderful thing about using organic grapes is that no pesticides are used, so you can be confident of what you’re putting into your body.

How can a wine not be vegan?

Historically, bull blood was often used to filter red wine and egg white is another popular fining agent used to filter sediment from the wine. Use of bull blood was outlawed after the BSE outbreak in the 90s, but egg whites are still used today. However, the ‘best’ and most frequently used fining agent in modern wine making is eisenglass. What’s it made from? Fish guts. At Thomson & Scott we’re proud to use pea protein to filter our wines, ensuring it reaches consumers without any contact with animal products along the way.

How much sugar is in wine?

The more we learn about sugar and its effect on the human body, the harder we try to consume less of it. Our best intentions can unknowingly fly out the window when drinking with friends, since large quantities of sugar can quietly be found lurking in our favourite drinks. Our Prosecco contains no more than 7g of sugar per litre, which is less than half the typical 15-17gp/l found in a classic ‘extra dry’

Prosecco. When it comes to alcohol-free wine the sugar content can be considerably higher, with many clocking in over 60g p/l (for context, a can of coke contains 90g p/l). Noughty, our alcohol-free sparkling wine, contains only 29g p/l, equivalent to a ‘dry’ Champagne and half that of the majority of alcohol-free wines. Not only does this help you cut sugar and alcohol, it makes Noughty fresh, dry and crisp.

Is alcohol-free wine just grape juice?

When grapes begin their alcoholic fermentation, new flavours are unlocked as the yeast eats the sugar, giving off alcohol and CO2 in the process. This is why people talk about non-grape flavours like ‘apple’ or ‘pear blossom’ in wine – not because these have been added, but because fermentation is crucial to developing the complex aromas that we love in wine.  To make alcohol-free wine, you can stop the fermentation early, but this leaves a lot of unfermented sugar in the drink and doesn’t allow the potential aromas to develop fully. To make Noughty, we make a full-strength wine with organic Chardonnay grapes, that are grown in the south of Spain.  We then use vacuum distillation to remove the alcohol.

What’s vacuum distillation?

If you’ve ever been camping at altitude, you’ll know that the change in pressure makes water boil at a lower temperature. If we were to heat up our Chardonnay to 80 degrees Celsius (the evaporation point of alcohol) then it would ruin the flavour of our beautiful wine. Instead, we heat the wine up in a vacuum, which reduces the evaporation point of alcohol down to 30 degrees, so we can remove the alcohol at an ambient temperature.

Amanda Thomson is the CEO and Founder of Thomson & Scott and creator of an entirely new sector in the wine industry – sparkling wine that cuts unnecessary sugar, is organic and vegan certified and above all is transparent about what’s in the bottle.

You can access Thomson & Scott products and other information here.