Fizz The Season: FBP's Guide to Vegan + Organic Sparkly Sippers
Is there any happier sound than an opening pop from a cork exiting a Champagne bottle? Yours Truly believes that New Year’s Eve without festive bubbles is b o r i n g. At the same time, this can be a trying night for ladies maintaining organic and/or vegan lifestyles. Safe to say, 99% of potent potables at the store or in restaurants are not labeled with this information.
I recently had a who knew? moment when drafting a press release for my high-end wine importer-distributor client VOS Selections. Marie Couwez, the company’s charming French sales pro, who embodies a head-to-toe organic and vegan lifestyle, shared that while it is comparatively façile to find organic wines if you do the research prior to purchase, not all organic producers use vegan methods for "fining," aka the process of clarifying the wine from sediment and grape residue.
Several commonly used fining agents include casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (don't get me started) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). Marie noted that several small producers she represents are “experimenting with vegetal protein-based fining agents, (derived from pea or potato) or using old ones like bentonite, a type of clay. New non-animal alternatives are being developed in response to the growing demand for ethical products.”
So think of this as your healthy-ish New Year's challenge: in addition to patronizing Florida’s poshest cruelty-free cuisine havens, seek-out clean bubbles, too.
Don't know where to start? Here's my handy checklist of sparkling wines that don't have all the scary chemicals.
Four Fab Fizzies
Inspired by Dana’s teeth-friendly cocktails post for Memorial Day, I decided to try to find out whether AbFab’s famous Bolli-Stoli (Bollinger Champagne topped with Stolichnaya vodka) cocktail would make the clean cut. Um....no.
Don't fret, though. I have clean options for every bubbles category: Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and Sparkling Wine.
Fortunately for imbibers, you’ll easily find our recos at ABC or Total Wine’s numerous outposts across the state. Select Costcos, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s too, but you may need to ask for assistance. However, if you live in a major city, local wine boutiques should be your first stop; smaller shops often have highly-informed associates (aka wine wonks) plus access to indie importers who can arrange your purchase through the store.
These sippers comprise FBP’s inaugural organic-vegan buyers’ guide. Cheers ladies!
Champagne - To be classified as a true Champagne, grapes must be harvested and processed per this appellation’s very specific guidelines. The most luxurious liquid for happy occasions, expect to spend $30 and up per bottle.
FBP’s pick: Veuve Clicquot, $40
Prosecco - If you’ve ever enjoyed a Bellini, you just might love Prosecco straight up. Less expensive than Champagne, look to the label for determining if your choice is fizzante (the bubbles settle post-pour) or spumante (full-on bubbles).
FBP’s pick: Christie Brinkley’s Bellisima, $25 (Is there anything this woman can’t do?)
Sparkling Wines - Sad to report that it’s really tricky to find an American-produced organic and vegan sparkling selections sold in Florida. With Google’s able assistance, you quickly discover numerous organic and vegan red and white wines, but I think New Year's calls for something a tad more celebratory, don't you? In other words, bubbles, baby.
FBP’s lonely yet delicious pick: Frey’s Organic Totality, $48
Happy New Year FBPers!