Do I Eat it if I Can’t Pronounce It?

Listen to our post from your car, while running…anywhere!

I don’t know about you, but our family has been trying to avoid the grocery store, and all other public outings for that matter, to maintain our social distance. So now, when I must head to the grocery store, I am thinking about a two-week grocery list to avoid repeated trips. Top of mind are items that will not only provide a bit of stability in my pantry, but are also healthy and affordable. As I enter the canned food aisle, I grab a soup and take a look at the nutrition label. My eyes widen… should I be afraid of all these ingredients I can’t pronounce? The answer is not so black and white.

Let’s take a look at this in a different way. Every morning, I throw some octadecenoic acid and hexadecenoic acid, along with arginine, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine onto the frying pan. When it’s properly cooked, I put it on phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. It is delicious! What am I eating? Eggs over quinoa. A healthy, good-for-you breakfast with plenty of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Is a true measure of health the ability to pronounce a food’s ingredients? The rhetoric, “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!” is adopted from a quote made by Michael Pollan, the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. His intent was to warn consumers against eating highly-processed foods and provide guidelines to identify these products so we could combat growing health epidemics, like obesity, diabetes, and chronic inflammation.

Misrepresentation of “chemical”

Unfortunately, Pollan’s statement was taken quite literally. Consumers began to question every multi-syllabic ingredient on their labels. But isn’t that a little too simplistic? Let’s get serious; most foods contain bad-for-you and good-for-you ingredients that are tongue twisters. Don’t believe me? Try this: read the list of ingredients below. It details the composition of a common breakfast and snack food.

Sound appetizing? Well, the truth is, these are simply the chemical ingredients for a banana. James Kennedy, a high school chemistry teacher in Melbourne, Australia created this list to illustrate that even completely natural, wholesome, clean foods can sound potentially unhealthy and unnatural when the mechanism for determining health is solely based on pronouncing a food’s chemicals.

“I want to erode the fear that many people have of chemicals”.

– James Kennedy, Chemistry Teacher

Our goal to eat healthier should include consuming nutrient-dense foods with low sodium, sugar, and trans & saturated fats. This means eating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Sounds pretty easy, right? Not always. Most of us tend to lean towards simple mantras to soothe our aversions to uncertainty and help us with quick decision making.

Perpetuating unreasonable food fears

According to Mintel, 70% of consumers don’t know what they need to eat to be healthy, but over 51% of Americans believe that additives in foods they eat pose a serious health risk. What causes this type of confusion and food fear of one of the safest food systems in the world? Misguided food dialogues may be to blame.

Pollan’s words have fueled an unreasonable fear of chemicals, toxins, and additives – and ultimately a fear of our food systems’ ability to ensure food safety. Unreliable food crusaders like the “Food Babe” have also adopted the phrase, “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”, and continue to spread similar incorrect generalizations. And they ultimately exacerbate a problem that, for many, is just whether they can afford to put food on their table.

Chemists like Dorea Reeser have spoken out against these misguided stigmas stating what seems to be the obvious:

“We are chemicals. Our friends are chemicals. Our babies are chemicals. The air we breathe is chemicals. The food we consume is chemicals that are digested by chemicals that turn into more chemicals.”

So if you took Pollan’s advice to the extreme, you would literally starve.

Do Additives Have a Purpose?

In addition, reputable food scientist, Professor Robert Gravani of Cornell University, has been a leader in responsible food science to combat this faulty logic, as well.

“We want to enhance the quality and maintain the freshness of foods. We want to reduce waste. We really want to make more foods readily available to consumers. And when feeding 310 million people in the United States, we really need to think about how we can transport this food.”

– Prof. Robert Gravani, Cornell University

In the quote above from a 2012 interview with National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation, Gravani details legitimate reasons food manufacturers add chemicals to food. He identifies a myriad of other meaningful ways additives have actually helped our food system.

For instance, our table salt contains iodine, a chemical that may make some consumers wary. However, the addition of this chemical has practically eliminated goiters, a medical condition affecting the thyroid gland. Moreover, niacin, a chemical added to bread, has all but made pellagra, a severe nutritional deficiency causing inflammation throughout the body, nonexistent.

Considering the Trade-offs

Dr. Michael Holsapple and Heather Dover of the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety at Michigan State University explain that adding substances to food is a necessary, centuries-old practice. All ingredients serve a purpose, whether to add flavor, enhance appearance or texture, or preserve food against bacteria, mold, and fungi. They encourage consumers to do their research on their labels. Be informed, not scared.

“As toxicologists and food scientists, we believe that, by and large, food ingredients are safe. We encourage consumers to look at food labels, as they are an important source of information on the safety of that food, and they provide evidence to enable informed choices.”

– Dr. Michael Holsapple, Michigan State University

He went on to warn that: “You can choose to avoid foods with synthetic preservatives, like sodium benzoate or benzoic acid, but you may consequently increase the risk of you and your family being exposed to microbial pathogens because so-called ‘natural’ preservatives are not as effective.”

Foods with “clean labels” and ingredients you can readily pronounce do not necessarily equate foods with healthier nutritional profiles. Should you be concerned about a particular ingredient, do some digging and check into its applications to see if it’s acceptable to you. The reality is that a healthy diet means making the right food choices, processed or not.

What’s happening at our local grocers during COVID-19?

These are some of the pressing questions we addressed during an interview with Jake Heinen, a fourth-generation family member of Heinen’s markets, who is helping to run a 90-year-old grocery business.

History of Heinen’s

Started in 1929 by Jake’s great grandfather, Joe Heinen, the original store was a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. But Joe, who emigrated from Germany, had bigger dreams. Back then, stores were separate markets: you visited bakeries for breads and pastries, butcher shops for meats, farm stands for produce, and so on. This structure forced consumers to run all about town to get what they needed.

By 1933, Joe’s plan for a one-stop shop was in motion, carrying staples like butter, pickles, and donuts, in addition to his renowned meat selection.

Now, four generations later, Heinen’s has 23 stores in the greater Cleveland and Chicago areas and employs over 3,500 associates. One of the many things that distinguishes this business is their close relationships with suppliers and employees. Also, as a smaller independent grocer, they can quickly change direction to meet business and customer demands – a serious challenge for larger operations.

Specialty Suppliers in Produce & Meat

Heinen’s strategy is to truly ‘partner’ with their organic and conventional farmers. They are in constant communication about growing specs, pricing, and produce distribution. This assures Heinen’s of their supply while giving the farmer a reliable customer. By working directly with more than 75 Ohio and Illinois farmers who ship almost exclusively to Heinen’s own warehouses, they cut out the transportation middleman, therefore “limiting room for disruption and ensuring fresher quality,” as Jake calls it.

These relationships allow them to expand certain popular purchases, like heirloom-variety produce. In the summer they are 70% local but, to assure year-round supply, they also source from the U.S., Mexico, and Chile using large-scale suppliers, such as Western Growers and Driscoll Foods, also a family business.

Heinen’s promotes both conventional and organic foods. Entire quality control teams are dedicated to inspecting all products entering the warehouse to ensure their customers get the best products around. 

In discussing the big picture of the produce industry with a Driscoll employee, they casually mentioned Heinen’s as a grocer that focuses on freshness, consistency, and packaging. They observe that Heinen’s devotes more floor space per square foot than most retailers. Furthermore, their produce team is very well-trained on the sourcing, nutrition, and value of all produce, something that’s also shared with their customers who buy more produce than the average grocer’s customer.

Heinen’s takes pride in its specific criteria to meet beef, pork, and chicken products. The company follows Joe Heinen’s advice that “we must buy the best to sell the best”. All their suppliers follow the practice of humanely raising and handling their animals and never treating them with added hormones or antibiotics.

By working with these trusted family businesses that allow exclusivity on their goods, products get to their stores faster and fresher. Because Heinen’s is comparatively small, they must have their own supply and not ‘stand in line’ behind the bigger chains. This, Jake says, has been a critical component of Heinen’s ability to be “flexible” during uncertain times, like COVID-19.

How has the Coronavirus affected Heinen’s?

“It has flipped everything on its head!” Jake explains. “It has made us rethink the way that we distribute, how we are buying goods and how we can quickly change direction within our current supply chain. We are living one day at a time – everything is fluid.”

Jake attributes Heinen’s trusted supply chain and lean management style to provide a nimble foundation for special situations, like COVID-19. What do we mean? Let’s start with their safety at the store level, because Heinen’s believes their associates’ health and safety is top priority.

Being deemed an essential business has its pros and cons.

On the upside, the grocers continue to make a profit and keep their employees working. However, every day these employees come to work, they put their health at risk, something Heinen’s considers top-of-mind.

Because they have just 23 stores, all of which maintain a level of what Jake calls “managerial autonomy,” they can address the needs of the associates quickly and precisely. When COVID was deemed a pandemic, Heinen’s installed plexiglass shields at its registers. Recently, Heinen’s was able to purchase face shields and masks for their associates who felt they needed these to work safely.

They also gave their associates the first ‘dibs’ on Lysol, toilet paper, and hand sanitizers. Furthermore, Heinen’s is allowing its staff to take a three-week furlough or, if they need more time, to use their paid time off consecutively.

As new state laws rolled out with the evolution of the pandemic, Heinen’s quickly placed signs in their stores to remind employees about hand washing, social distancing, and to avoid touching their face. Markers on the floor remind shoppers of what a safe six-foot distance looks like when waiting at the checkout line, and signs posted on the shelves politely remind customers to limit purchases of paper goods and cleaning products.

Changes from Suppliers during COVID-19

“If we didn’t have our long-term relationships with our suppliers, we would be in trouble,” said Jake. “Large chain grocers such as Kroger’s and Costco get fed first – we would be at the bottom of the food chain in procuring some products.”

While grocers like Heinen’s make necessary changes, so do suppliers. Grocery product manufacturers are experiencing a lag in production and are unable to keep up with unruly demand during this crisis.

Major packaged goods companies are shifting their focus from 20 choices to eight. For instance, Barilla used to have around 20 types of pasta, but now they are putting all their production toward just eight varieties. But once-choosy customers are now just happy to have any kind of pasta. However, even with limited product production, companies still can’t keep up with the demand – just consider the shortages on toilet paper.

Because of this, Heinen’s previous schedule of buying products to ensure a plentiful supply to customers has gone out the window. Being nimble and patient during this time pays off when orders are finally delivered to the warehouse. And to make things a little smoother during this disruptive time, the company is loyal to its devoted brands and accepts goods as they come in, not giving a particular vendor undue priority.

Consumer Behavior Changes

But all that is behind the scenes. Once in the store, Heinen’s is known for being a bright, cheerful place with quality meats, cheeses, pre-made meals, and fresh produce. Their flagship store even has a nice bar on the second floor – a feature many patrons are eagerly awaiting during this pandemic.

The biggest shift in consumer behavior Jake has experienced thus far in the pandemic is their online delivery business. Online grocery sales typically make up 3-4% of Heinen’s overall sales, but with coronavirus, their online business has tripled. This leaves questions about consumer experience and satisfaction. Sometimes online shoppers don’t pick the right things they’re looking for…what does that do to their experience? Will they use this platform more going forward? How can we maintain that in-store connection while our customers are shopping online?

Jake’s Major Takeaways

  • Trust our food supply. This situation is unique and there are plenty of quality goods. They will continue to be available and handled in a safe way by producers and retailers. From the farm to the food manufacturers, everyone is working hard to bring quality food to the grocery store.
  • Don’t hoard. Help your community by only buying what you need. Those who buy up all the toilet paper, hand sanitizers, and paper towels when they already have enough at home are putting their community at risk.
  • Continue social distancing while shopping and take precautions. As much as we all want to get out of the house, grocery shopping should not be a family outing activity. Stay in and stay safe at this time, unless necessary.
  • If anyone at Heinen’s store were to test positive for COVID-19, know that the store would immediately close and management would take all precautions to properly decontaminate and isolate. Furthermore, a third-party cleaning company with FDA-approved products would also disinfect the stores before re-opening.

In the long run, Heinen’s believes that their consumers will appreciate transparency in all that they do, because being a boutique family business puts them in the unique position of connecting with not only their associates to address their needs, but their loyal customers, too.

Bettering Farms in Zimbabwe…and Beyond

Dirt to Dinner is excited to introduce Nyasha Mudukuti, a science communication and network associate with the Cornell Alliance for Science, where she was a 2019 Global Leadership Fellow. Nyasha is a Mastercard Foundation scholar from Michigan State University, where she majored in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology. She is also a BSc honors graduate in biotechnology from Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe. Nyasha served as the 2016 AGCO Africa Ambassador, advocating for agricultural reforms across the African continent. 

Nyasha is a member of the Global Farmers Network, a proud Global Youth Ambassador fellow of the United Nations initiative, “A World at School”, and a 2016 Young African Leaders Initiative fellow as an emerging young leader.

Nyasha’s dream is to help her continent see the importance of biotechnology in agriculture and use it to improve the livelihoods of African smallholder farmers.

It’s 2 a.m. and I am sitting in my apartment in Ithaca, New York, trying to call home to check on my family in Zimbabwe. My sister picks up and says, “Let me call you back, I am in a queue.” “For what?” I ask. “Mealie meal,” she replies. “I need to send some to mum!

Concerns amidst a Food Crisis

Our mother lives in a rural area, Chikombedzi, which is where I grew up, while my sister works in the city. It’s 8 a.m. her time and panic-shopping has started there, too. With the government’s announcement of a 21-day nationwide shutdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, basic commodities are now scarce. She hangs up and I try to get some sleep but I can’t. There is a level of comfort knowing that my family will be OK but there’s a restlessness in my mind as I wonder what the next 21 days will be like for the majority of Zimbabweans, who rely on the informal sector and feed from hand to mouth.

What will they eat? The government had announced a shutdown without providing a strategy of how to feed its struggling citizens in abject poverty. This shutdown exposes them to a silent threat, and the very real fear that hunger may kill them before the coronavirus does.

Thirty minutes later, I am still tossing and turning in my bed, contemplating how times have changed. It used to be that people in rural areas would send food to those in the city. But now, my sister has to send food to my mother, whose small piece of farmland has not been yielding much. I remember her recent calls complaining of how the fall armyworm had destroyed her maize. I would then try to put a smile on her face, laughing about how back in 2011 we used to handpick and squash stem-borers with our feet because we could not afford pesticides. Yet we still survived, even after losing almost half of our three hectares of maize and sorghum to the stem borer. “It will be OK, Mum,” I would try to assure her over the phone. But the truth is, it’s NOT going to be okay.

Farming in Chikombedzi

See, I grew up on a small farm in rural Zimbabwe. From it, we could feed ourselves, sell the surplus, and pay the fees that allowed us to attend school. But I took no pleasure in farming. I didn’t want to get up early, before school, to weed the fields. I didn’t like the long days in the hot sun. I didn’t want anything to do with agriculture. I wanted to be a doctor, a profession I thought of as “classier”.

However, everything changed in 2011 when I was admitted to study biotechnology as an undergraduate student at Chinhoyi University in Zimbabwe. That is where I started learning about the role of science in agriculture and its potential benefits, especially for African farmers like my mother, in developing drought-tolerant, insect-resistant herbicide-tolerant crops.

An Agricultural Disconnect

My journey began with a Facebook post. While scrolling through my timeline, I read an article about genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa and how some of my people were destroying the products. Reading the comment section, I realized there were a lot of misconceptions about GM food products. I decided to engage in the conversation, and of course, that didn’t come without a backlash! It didn’t make sense to me that the very same people earning less than US$2 per day, struggling with weeds and crop failures due to climate change, were the very first to object. Misconceptions fueled by fear can paralyze people, so I took on a mandate to raise awareness of ways we can leverage this technology to our benefit.

My first Facebook post on GM ultimately got the attention of Dr. C. Prakash from Tuskegee University, who later invited me to tell my story with the Global Farmers Network (GFN) at the World Food Prize in Iowa in 2014. During my time in Iowa, I got to see a GM cornfield for the first time.

By visiting farms in Iowa, I witnessed the tremendous potential of modern agriculture to help us overcome enormous challenges. I took those lessons and observations and ran with them to ensure African farmers are not left behind.

After returning to Zimbabwe, I continued to participate in GFN activities and wrote columns on my country’s anti-GMO attitudes. Our government recently relaxed and lifted the ban on the importation of GM products. However, the ban still stands on planting GM crops. Upon completing my undergraduate studies, I decided to advance my knowledge on biotechnology issues in agriculture.

Finding A Platform

In 2016, one of my articles was published in the Wall Street Journal, where it caught the eye of Robin Buell, a professor of plant biology at Michigan State. She connected me with the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, which recognizes academic achievement and a commitment to Africa. She later served as my principal investigator in her genomics lab, where I researched dry beans. This gave me a deeper understanding of the science behind GM crops and an appreciation of the amount of work scientists put into developing new varieties.

However, knowledge of genetic engineering is just not enough to ensure that those who need this technology can benefit from it. What’s the point of making a product that the end-user doesn’t fully understand? They will eventually reject it, no matter how beneficial it may be to them. This brings me to one of my biggest challenges as a scientist: how do I communicate in ways that people like my mother, without a scientific background, can understand?

Spreading the Message with Science

Today my work with the Cornell Alliance for Science involves addressing some of these issues. One of our approaches is hosting a “seeing is believing” activity, where we bring non-scientists to the lab so they experience the extraction of DNA and realize it’s not rocket science! They even participate in a hands-on, personal DNA isolation from their cheeks. Another example is bringing media professionals to GM field trials and exposing them to peer-reviewed scientific literature so they can better report on agricultural innovations.

I might not have become a doctor but nothing gives me more fulfillment than knowing that with these modern technologies, I am helping farmers feed their families and send their children to school as they farm better and smarter.

As I finally begin to drift off to sleep, I make a silent prayer thanking the farmers for risking everything so we can have food on our tables. They are the truly essential workers! For once, it seems that no one cares whether food is organic as we hoard food like there is no tomorrow. The empty shelves should help us understand how privileged we are to be able to choose. In desperate times, food is food — it all comes down to survival.

When this pandemic is over, I hope we remember how anxious we were about stockpiling sufficient food and realize that more than 815 million people go to bed hungry every night, in desperate need of food.

A Virtual Happy Hour with Vegan Wine

With COVID-19, we have a “new normal”, where socializing now requires a phone or laptop and a quiet corner in our homes. Many of us have even dined with family and friends, enjoying our dinner and drinks right alongside them. Certainly not the same as in-person, but not a bad hack.

An added benefit of preparing our meals at home? We know every ingredient that goes into them – something that poses a challenge for those adhering to a specific diet, like vegans, when dining out. And as we use this time to be more mindful of what we put into our bodies to keep us healthy, many of us are turning to a vegetarian or “flexitarian” diet and, sometimes, coupling our dinners with a vegan wine.

Wait…vegan wine? Yes, Nancy, there is a vegan wine. But if wine is produced from grapes, and grapes are definitely fruits, how can wine be anything but a vegan product? Well, it turns out that to many in the vegan community, our friend wine is no less subject to the debate over the mix of animals and plants in our food supply.

A Grape Is a Grape Is a Grape. Isn’t It?

Any discussion of vegan wine needs to begin with one simple fact: the key issue in the debate isn’t the grape. It’s the process used to produce wine.

Producing wine is a simple process, really. Crush some grapes, mix in some yeast, and wait for the fermentation process to work its magic. That simple formula has worked successfully for a long, long time – more than 9,000 years, in fact. Need a brief history lesson? Check this out.

The vegan question begins to emerge in what is sometimes thought of as the final stage of wine production, called clarification.

As the grape juices ferment, organic materials begin to emerge, and chemical changes take effect. Until these organic materials settle out of the wine, it will have a cloudy appearance. And that’s where the question of vegan wine begins.

Wine consumers can just learn to love the wine, clouds and all, and accept that dregs are a natural part of the process. But consumers typically don’t want cloudy wine – especially when a clear product is available.

Vintners can simply take the time needed to allow the organic materials – referred to as “particulates” — to settle out. But that takes time, and as is true in many, many commercial enterprises, time is money.

Waiting for organic materials to settle out delays the next production cycle, adds storage and handling costs, slows the time to market for the product, and makes the product that much more expensive for the customer.

Not Fine with Fining

To speed the process along, vintners use certain agents to accelerate clarification. This practice is called “fining.”

Fining involves the addition of one or more of a number of products that attract the organic particulates and make it easier to filter the product to an acceptable level of clarity. Fining agents also are used to deal with certain chemical properties of the wine that affect its taste, odor, and character. To the dismay of true vegans, some of these fining ingredients are derived from animals or come from what some critics contend is “exploitation” of animals.

What kind of fining ingredients are we talking about? High school chemistry would divide fining ingredients into two categories: organic and solid/mineral materials.

Common organic materials for fining include:

  • Gelatin – made from boiled cow or pig body parts. It clarifies and helps make wine less astringent or bitter.
  • Isinglass – a form of collagen derived from the dried swim bladders of fish, especially sturgeon. It acts to help filter out organic particulates that affect wine odor, especially in white wines. It is also used in making jellies, glues and clarification of other beverages.
  • Albumin – you know, egg whites. It helps reduce the harsh tannins – the bitter, bark-like taste — sometimes present in red wines.
  • Casein – animal milk protein. It also helps take out offensive odors in white wines.

Vegan options may be found in the solid/mineral materials category. The most notable solid or mineral fining agent is bentonite clay, which currently is most commonly used with white wines rather than reds. It has the added benefit of helping filter out certain bacteria and absorbing specific proteins. Another mineral, called sparkolloid, further clarifies the wine by neutralizing the particle charge. It is the last step in the fining process. Some activated carbons from charcoal, as well as synthetic compounds, are used to reduce undesirable odors and cut tannin levels.

Still think a grape is a grape is a grape? That glass of wine involves a lot more than grape juice and some yeast.

Which Wine is Which?

Fining is a widely used practice not just for wine-making but also production of beers and ales. But so far, the clamor for vegan wine seems to be drowning out any comparable concern from the beer-drinking community.

The discussion regarding vegan wine seems to grow most animated over the question of how wine consumers are to know what fining agents were used. Some wine-makers apparently have subscriptions to help consumers better navigate this minefield.

Some vintners have recognized the passion felt by many vegans and moved to accommodate it. For those concerned about animal products in their wine, look for the BevVeg certification, which indicates the product uses no animal ingredients of any kind in the production process. We’ve also developed a list of vegan wines, too.

The roster of wines claiming to be “vegan” or “vegan friendly” is expanding, either through a willingness to take the necessary time for the wine to clarify naturally or by using only fining agents that satisfy the demands of the vegan community. While some vegan advocates clamor for a very stringent vegan standard for wine, the mainstream participants seem to focus on the “vegan friendly” categorization as a valuable step toward their objective.

At the same time, some critics of the fining practice argue for more and better information on wine labels regarding the fining agents used in production. As the animated debates surrounding the appropriate labeling of various food products suggest, this demand is likely to generate spirited discussion in the months – and perhaps years – ahead.

For those who don’t drink wine, all the hubbub over vegan or non-vegan wine may seem a small and insignificant tempest in a wine bottle. But remember: wine sales in the United States exceed $71 billion in 2018. That’s is a sizeable market for someone to capture. And if wine consumers embrace vegan wine – as the rising number of “vegan friendly” wines seems to indicate is the case – expect to see and hear even more about vegan wines in 2020.

A Brief History & Some Vegan Options

Thirsty for More Wine Knowledge?

Food and wine go hand in hand, not just today but throughout history, too.

The production of food from farming preceded the production of wine by several millennia – but in historical terms, not by all that much. It seems that the practice of “pairing” food with wine is nothing all that new, either.

Various sources contend evidence of wine-making dates back almost 9,000 years in China, only slightly longer than estimates for Asia and Europe. Evidence of actual wine production can be traced to Armenia in roughly 4100 BC, where archeologists found traces of a device for crushing grapes, a system for moving the crushed product to storage containers and indications of the fermentation of red wine.

Experts in such things point out that humans only began farming about 10,000 B.C., in the “Fertile Crescent” area of the Middle East – an area including parts of modern-day Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey. Evidence of farming in North America, by contrast, dates back to about 5,000 BC.


Vegan Wines Available Today is a handy reference for anyone seeking to identify true vegan wines. Another resource is, which provides information on a range of vegan alcoholic beverages. Barnivore lists almost 5,500 wines available in the United States alone that qualify as “vegan friendly.”

Among those widely advertised as vegan or vegan friendly:

  • Charles Shaw (red wines only)
  • Frey Vineyards
  • Lumos Wine
  • Morgan Ridge
  • Red Truck Wines
  • Oak Grove Reserve
  • The Vegan Vine
  • Panther Creek
  • Port Gardner Bay
  • Yellowtail (red wines only; not white or rosé)
  • Priam
  • Santa Maria
  • Seven Mountains

Additional recommendations:

  • Bellissima Prosecco
  • Blossom Hill
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Cycles Gladiator
  • DAOU Vineyards
  • JUSTIN wines
  • Layer Cake Wines
  • Lumos Wine Company
  • Natura Wines
  • Our Daily Wines
  • Palmina Wines
  • Seghesio Family Vineyards
  • Sutter Home
  • Thumbprint Cellars
  • Union Wine Company
  • Wrights Vineyard and Winery