Vegan Wine – what about the PVPP

Its hard to live to a purist ideal in the modern world. One of the hardest things about being vegan is that you need to substitute so much in order to avoid using animal products. But in some cases, is the substitute worse than the protein?

In many cases, it means using plastic instead of leather, processed industrial soy products instead of milk, and in the case of wine, Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone instead of milk or egg or fish proteins to stabilse, clarify, and reduce phenolic flavours.

Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone or PVPP is essentially a plastic.

From a winemakers point of view, PVPP is great when more and more customers are going vegan, because it does the same, or a better job, but it doesnt have to go on the label, because its not considered by the labelling authorities an allergen. Like animal proteins, it doesnt end up in the end product in significant amounts anyway. But who says what is “significant” anyway?

Even so, it does have an additive code, and if you do a google search on it as an additive you can (of course) find some pretty damning views on it from the additive alarmists.

For example this site, which has an exhaustive list of food additives on it:

E1202 Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PPVP): Synthetic polymer. Clarifying agent for wine, beer and vinegar; colour and colloidal stabiliser, almost completely unabsorbed when taken orally. Artificial sweetener . May cause damage to kidneys and stay in the system for up to a year. Avoid it.

Organic wine standards worldwide prohibit the use of PVPP, but when you try to find out scientifically what is so toxic about PVPP its hard to find. A Material Safety Data Sheet such as this is about all you find. Organic standards have probably banned it only from the precautionary principle and because it is a synthetic ingredient, not occurring in Nature, and therefore potentially toxic.

What am I getting at?

Organic wine CAN be fined with animal proteins, but many are not, so they are truly pure wines. And if you are purist vegan, those are the only wines you can drink to avoid both animal proteins AND PVPP.

Many Rosnay wines are vegan friendly, and they are noted on our tasting notes if they are or not. Some years, like 2012, we found that the use of a little skim milk powder had a significant improving effect on the wine, and so we added it. And that was probably some of the best wine we ever made! But in other years where there was little benefit, we opted not to add it.

The Freedom range is strictly Vegan – being preservative free we also want to keep it “pure” from a vegan point of view as well.