A bottle of English wine or bubbly, makes a nice change from the normal imported wines on supermarket shelves. There’s nothing wrong with trying out a few wines from further shores. But most wines in supermarkets are not vegan-friendly (they filter using bone char or fish bladder – or sometimes contain milk or gelatine), and most supermarkets don’t even clearly label them, so you could be label-reading for a long time.
Choose local wines made with (ideally) organic grapes (less sulphites means less of a hangover). And try to find bottles that use real corks. No trees are chopped down to make cork, and it prevents more plastic in the form of plastic wine corks. Although cork is natural, it’s not biodegradable as the fibres are packed too tight. Corks are also choking hazards. When you have enough, send them off to Recorked for recycling. You can recycle blue glass bottles at green recycling banks. Most councils now accept plastic tops (if used) in the same bags as plastic bottles (they just float to the top in the water bath, made into different things).
- Renegade & Longton (East Sussex) produce sparkling wines on the coast at Hastings, using elderflowers, rather than grapes. There are two in the range (one dry and fruity and the other a blush with rhubarbs, strawberries and blackberries – a good dessert wine).
- Wild Thing Organic Prosecco is lightly sparkling with gentle bubbles, with soft apple and pear aromas and a citrus fruit palate. The bottle can be re-sealed and the wine has been developed with Born Free Foundation, so a donation from each bottle sold goes to help animal welfare conservation projects worldwide. The Goodness Project have many sparkling wine gifts at their online shop (use a letterbox guard near pets, if ordering with chocolate).
- Breaky Bottom offers quality sparkling wine from the foot of the Sussex Downs. Created by a wine maker with French/Italian heritage, there are only limited amounts of bottles, so get in quick for these cool-climate wines.
- Sea Change Wines (Scotland) donates a portion from each sale to wine conservation charities. However Provence Rosé is not vegan-friendly, nor are pre-2019 wines). The following are fine: Prosecco Pack (also as single bottles), Whale Merlot, Whale Sauvignon Blanc and Whale Whale Rosé. Their also use a wine bottle made from 94% recycled paper (the food-grade lining is plastic, but it’s a better alternative).
- Read Wild Wine Making to make a selection of easy-to-create fruit and other wines. Recipes include Blackberry Rhubarb, Blueberry Pear, Damson Plum, Cherry Rhubarb, Golden Raspberry, Spiced Peach, Dandelion, Elderflower, Lilac Flower, Rose Petal, Rosehip, Rosemary and Apple or Plum Champagne.