Wine Thoughts — Our Blog

11th annual wine tasting

11th Annual Wine Tasting
Benefiting the Ronald McDonald Houses of Central NJ
Come enjoy great food and wine while supporting this great cause on
Friday, September 23, 2022!

We are so very excited to have our beloved Wine Tasting return after a three-year COVID hiatus!

Also returning is our special guest, from Jarvis Estate, Sil Coccia, Director of Hospitality and Consumer Sales. All attendees will have an opportunity to taste exceptional Jarvis wines, apply for membership and place exclusive orders. An added bonus is that everyone will become a member of Jarvis for this night only giving them the chance to purchase Jarvis Exclusive Members-only wines.

There will be approximately 60 fine wines from around the world for you to sample, along with a plethora of food served buffet style.

As always you will find plenty of ways to support the Ronald McDonald Houses, by ordering your favorite wines, entering the raffle for a trip to Napa at the Harvest Inn, participating in the silent and live wine auctions and so much more…

All money raised from this event directly benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Central & Northern New Jersey in our effort to keep families close to their seriously ill children. It is always a wonderful evening.

11th Annual Wine Tasting Benefiting the
Ronald McDonald Houses of Central NJ
Friday, September 23, 2022
Deal County Club | 1 Golf Lane, Deal NJ | 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Attire is Country Club Casual (No Denim or Shorts.)
Slacks, Skirts, Dresses, Dress Shirt, Blouse.
Jackets not Required. 

Tickets are $100 per person or two tickets for $190.
Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door

Please join us! We look forward to seeing you again.

Your Wine Tasting Committee:
Ken & June Hullings, Chairs
Jane Crupi, Bryan Katz, Diane Kellerhals, Rohini Singh

Please join us!
For information on tickets and sponsorship please contact
Lynn Flannery at 732-222-8755 or


Special Permit #96099

Follow us @RMHCNJ

Presented by:

If you cannot attend, but would like to donate to Ronald McDonald House of Central and Northern NJ, please click on the donate button. Thank you.

Ronald McDonald House
of Long Branch
31 Bath Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Ronald McDonald House
of New Brunswick
145 Somerset Street,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Jour de Soif

(Oh, Thirsty Day)

Spring is a transitional season and selecting the right spring wine is more about weight than color. The French say the proper spring wine is refreshing and thirst quenching. Spring wines should have a crisp level of acidity,  light body and a low alcohol content. 

Thirst quenchers, or, as the French say, vin de soif, are basically unpretentious wines that are measured not by their complexity, length or ageability, but by the joy and refreshment they provide. The English have a word for them, too — quaffers.

Although these wines can come from anywhere, most are French natural wines, primarily because Beaujolais, which inspired so many natural wine producers, is the original vin de soif

So, it shouldn;t come as a surprise that our current favorite thirst quencher is French — Domaine du Bel Air, Bourgueil Jour de Soif to be exact.  

In French, Jour de Soif means “Thirsty Day” and this soft, fruit-forward, red delight definitely fits the bill as it is comforting and refreshing.

So what is this Jour de Soif? 

Well, it  is a delicious Cabernet Franc from Domaine du Bel Air Bourgueil in the Loire Valley region of France. The Domaine is actually in Benais, a 200-hectare area just east of Bourgeuil, and is a certified organic estate that is known for creating traditional deep, age-worthy Cabernet Franc for the past five generations. The Domaine’s vines average 30 years of age–with some as old as 80 years.  

Each year, the winemaker makes a super-fresh, early-drinking wine that is meant to be drunk during the first year of release–Jour de Soif– an entry-level cuvée made from 20 year-old vines and aged in stainless steel tanks. Yet, this is no mere vin de soif. Always delicious, it has all of the wonderful things we look for in young Cabernet Franc; dark fruit, soft fine tannins, refreshing finish, a good mineral component.  

Bold, pungent and racy, savory herbs, lavender and cloves give this dark, powerful Bourgeuil great character.  Fresh and juicy, it is structured, dense and full of personality, not to mention incredibly delicious. Not shy at 14.3 percent alcohol, it would be great for grilled meats. It is a tremendous value.

An alternate choice would be Passetoutgrains from Burgundy. Domaine Vincent Dureuil-Janthal Bourgogne Passetoutgrains, is a blend of pinot noir and gamay, is also a great quaffing wine as is a simple Beaujolais. But we will talk more about that wine at another time.

 So, toss some burgers or sausages on the grill, get a rotisserie chicken, make a sandwich, that sort of thing. 

Just remember, these wines should be relatively inexpensive and lightly chilled before pouring and your thirsty guests will keep coming back for more.

What we’re tasting this February

Bottles by Sickles
200 Monmouth Street | Red Bank NJ 07701Vias Wine Tasting:
• Colpetrone Sagrantino Montefalco
A savory full-bodied, traditional style with tobacco leather & earth notes leading to more subtle dried cherry & spice accents surrounding dense & chewy tannins. Ample nose of red fruit with spices & a subtle hint of vanilla, dried fruits and chocolate. The palate is fresh, well-structured, with concentrated tannins & a long, velvety finish. Suitable for roasts, & and aged cheeses.
Wine Spectator – 90 pts – $27.99
• Pecchenino Siri d’Jermu Dogloani Superiore DOCG
Pretty flavors of ripe pomegranate blackberry & violet are the hallmark of this supple Dolcetto. Firm yet stays balanced through the finish. Ruby red with violet highlights. Intense bouquet of ripe fruits with notes of currants, blackberries & black cherries. The flavor is balanced with smooth, sweet tannins & a persistent finish. Pairs well with pastas, white meats, red meats, braises, fresh cheeses & medium aged cheeses.
Wine Spectator – 90 pts – $25.99
• Vie di Romans Flors di Uis
Charming aromatic bouquet of white flowers, golden apple, apricot, pear, honey, with mineral & citrus. The graceful flavors of Riesling and Malvasia Istriana melt perfectly with the weight & texture of Friulano. Firm acidity & a clean, rich finish. Ideal with seafood recipes, like lobster risotto or tuna tartar, and with any spicy dishes.
• Lechthaler Pinot Noir
The bouquet elegant, with notes of forest berries, blackcurrant, cherry, & toast, like toasted almond & cured meat. The palate is dry, fresh, velvety, with delicate tannins & a lingering finish. Ideal with pasta, risotto & poultry.

Bottles by Sickles
200 Monmouth Street | Red Bank NJ 07701

Complimentary tasting of:
• Jurtschitsch – “Belle Naturelle” Gr
üner Veltliner
2018 | Langlois & Kamptal, Austria | 100% Grüner Veltliner
Jurtschitsch winery dates back to the 16th century in the Kamptal region. A leader in the natural wine movement, this is a  biodynamically-farmed Grüner Veltliner made with two weeks of skin contact. Naturally hazy, it is markedly clean wine with only moderate tannin. It is a great introduction to the style of orange wine. Fermented with native yeasts and no sulfur is used save for an exceptionally small dose at bottling for stability. The nose offers aromas of elderflower and chamomile. The floral notes continue through the palate along with black tea notes. Owner/winemaker Alwin Jurtschitsch Belle Naturelle, ‘a wine in its birthday suit.’  certified organic.
Note:  Turn gently before opening, do not store above 20°C. – $22.99

• Hugel Classic Riesling
2016 | Alsace, FR | 100% Riesling
According to Robert Parker: “the Classic (former Hugel) range that represents “the essence of the pure, dry Famille Hugel style” and now includes Muscat and Pinot Gris, along with all the other noble grapes. The grapes of the Classic range are predominantly purchased but obligatory hand-picked from vineyards with clay-limestone soils in Riquewihr and neighboring villages, and give classic gastronomic wines with a dry expression.” The Hugel Riesling is an intense pale green color, dominated with the green & pale yellow highlights of springtime tree foliage, all completed with a silvery sheen. The bouquet is still a bit discreet & fresh — it is harmonious, clear & well-stated, yet quite dense & fruity with hints of lime, fresh kiwi, lemon-grass, ‘Mirabelle’, greengage & a slightly mineral edge. This is a dry wine that is also fresh & lovingly thirst-quenching on the palate. It is well-balanced with a generous & well-formed structure underlined by the wonderful freshness & vigor which is so typical to this grape variety’s elegant temperament. The grapes are perfectly ripe.”It serves as an excellent aperitif. Best served with turbot, sea bass, monk-fish, lobster, king prawns, seafood, sander, pike, salmon, scallops, marinated or raw fish carpaccio, goat’s cheese.
Sale $19.99 (Reg. $24.99)

• Domaine les Evigneaux Rasteau
2016 | Rasteau, Southern Rhône  Valley, FR | 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault
Benoit and Frederic Lavau have always been fans of Rasteau, which became a cru unto itself in 2010. This red offers a lot of complexity on the nose with rich aromas of cedar, baking spices, cola, blackcurrant & vanilla followed by a hint of raspberry. Full-bodied & savory on the palate, there are meaty flavors of chocolate & leather that develop in intensity & power all the way through the long, long finish. The tannins are robust & well-integrated reflecting the power & complexity of this AOC. Although it is already approachable, it is good to drink over the next few years & promises to be spectacular with three to five more years of aging (if you can wait that long!)
Wine Advocate – 90 pts – $24.99


Bottles by Sickles
200 Monmouth Street | Red Bank NJ 07701

Kobrand Wine & Spirits Tasting


Bottles by Sickles
200 Monmouth Stree | Red Bank NJ 07701.

Decoy Wines: The first Decoy Red Blend was made at Duckhorn Vineyards in 1985. This exceptional wine quickly established a loyal following for its quality and distinctive style. In 2008, Decoy evolved from being a single, second-label wine supporting the Duckhorn Vineyards brand to being its own focused winery. Grapes for the Decoy line of wines come from a mix of Estate vineyards and top independent growers. Today, in addition to the original Decoy Red, the Decoy lineup includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc—all of which are Sonoma County appellation-designated and highlight Decoy’s commitment to producing attractively priced wines made from exceptional vineyard sources with an emphasis on ready-upon-release wines that are capable of expressing their full charm and complexity.
We will be tasting Sauvignon Blanc; Chardonnay; Pinot Noir & Cabernet Sauvignon

Decoy Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
2018 |  Sonoma County, CA | 100% Sauvignon Blanc
This enticing wine offers vivid flavors of pink grapefruit and white peach, as well as lovely notes of lemon zest and citrus blossom. On the palate, refreshing acidity mingles with a subtle undercurrent of sweet fruit that carries through to a bright and lively finish.

Decoy Sonoma County Chardonnay
2018 | Sonoma County, CA | 100% Chardonnay
You can’t go wrong with a good quality Chardonnay, and the fruity/floral notes and very subtle hint of warm spice in Decoy’s Sonoma County Chardonnay is lovely!This deliciously bright and inviting Chardonnay offers layers of apricot, citrus and green apple, as well as hints of fresh honeysuckle and cinnamon. On the palate, the lovely pure fruit flavors are underscored by delicate acidity and a supple richness from sur lie aging.

Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir
2017 | Sonoma County  |100% Pinot Noir
Showcasing the vibrant allure of great cool-climate Sonoma County Pinot Noir, this wine displays aromas of strawberry, cranberry and plum that rise from the glass, along with oak-inspired hints of vanilla. The palate is soft and silky, with ripe berry flavors underscored by supple tannins that carry the wine to a bright, focused finish.

Decoy Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 | Sonoma County, CA | 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 3% Zinfandel, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Petite Sirah;
From its deep, inviting color to its enticing layers of boysenberry, blackberry, plum and star anise, this wine showcases what we love about great Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. On the palate, the lush fruit flavors are framed by rich tannins and hints of dark chocolate and barrel spice.


Bottles by Sickles
200 Monmouth Stree | Red Bank NJ 07701
Mardi Gras Celebration!


Bottles by Sickles
200 Monmouth Stree | Red Bank NJ 07701
Sadie Hawkins Day: Featuring All Women Wine Producers

April Wine Portfolio Tasting Event Piccola Italia

Friday, April 5, 2019 | 4:00-6:00 pm

10-15 Wines Available for Tasting and Purchase!
Complimentary Wine-Friendly Snacks Provided

Bring Friends and stay for dinner!
*Reservations suggested for dinner

These events have been such fun, so we hope you can make it!

837 W Park Avenue  |   Ocean Township, NJ 07712

Whiskey 101 Dinner

Have you always wanted to know more about whiskey? or what is the difference between bourbon, rye and whiskey? Well, here’s your chance! Chef Brian, Chef Charlie, Carolina & The Piccola Italia staff have planned a Whiskey 101 dinner presenting American whiskeys paired with amazing food selections! This will be an opportunity to eat, drink and learn all about American whiskey, rye and bourbon! There will be a couple of unique cocktails to try, and the menu was chosen specifically for each spirit. This is one dinner that is going to be SO MUCH FUN!

The menu includes:
Course 1
Duck BLT
Duck Confit, Bibb Lettuce, Grape Tomato, Duck Crackling,
Black Pepper & Bing Cherry Aioli
Cocktail: Slow & Low Rock and Rye Old Fashioned
Course 2
Door Wedge Candied Bacon
Mustard Greens, Brown Sugar Gremolata, Quail Egg
Neat Pour:  Widow Jane Rye
Course 3
Country Fried Pork Loin
Buttermilk Biscuit, Grilled Broccolini, Sausage Gravy
Neat Pour: Bootlegger Bourbon
Course 4
Caramel Crack Pie
Oatmeal Crust, Fresh Whipped Cream
Coffee Cocktail: Hudson Coffee Co Cold Brewed Coffee &
#8 Dickle Sour Mashed Whiskey

American Whiskey Tasting & Food Pairing
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $69/Person +Tax & Gratuity


837 West Park Avenue
Ocean,  NJ 07712
(732) 493 3090

Reservations are required, so please call for a table: 732-493-3090. There will be limited space, so call today!


16th Annual Wine & Martini Tasting

Salt Creek Grille’s 16th Annual Wine & Martini Tasting Fundraiser benefitting Impact 100 Jersey Coast will be held Thursday, April 11 from 7-10 p.m.
The event, which is always a sell-out, features heavy-hors d’oeuvres, serving stations and over 100 different wine varietals and several distilled spirits to taste.
There is a live auction with popular local radio personality, NJ 101.5’s Big Joe Henry, serving as auctioneer and live music by The Bobby Boyd Trio.
100 percent of the proceeds from the night’s events will go directly to Impact 100 Jersey Coast.

Tickets to the event are $150 per person and sponsorships are available. To purchase tickets or become a sponsor visit –


THURSDAY APRIL 11, 2019 | 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

$150 PER PERSON Tickets are limited. Attire: Business Casual.
To purchase tickets or become a sponsor visit –


Gin and dinner

From Norway, the land of the midnight sun, we bring you Kimerud. Distilled from potatoes and 23 botanicals harvested from the small, artisanal distillery’s farm. There are four Gins: Kimerud Gin; Wild Grade Gin; Kimerud Hillside Aged Gin, and a Pink Gin. In fact, Kimerud Gin is the highest awarded Norwegian Gin and has received high honors in several international competitions. One taste will make you a gin lover!

We encourage you to join us at Blu Grotto in Oceanport to taste this elegant spirit. Our special Norwegian Kimerud Gin Dinner the perfect opportunity to discover this exceptional gin. Blu Grotto’s exceptional staff has designed special cocktails and a perfectly paired them with five delicious courses.

Kimerud Gin Dinner
First Course
Spiced Lamb Carpaccio
Pickled Ramps, Pecorini, Rosewater Harissa
Second Course
Porcini Risotto
Escargot, Preserved Truffle, Burnt Sage
Third Course
Dry Aged American Wagyu Strip Loin
Miso, Prawn Butter
Fourth Course
Cheese Selection
A collaboration with The Cheese Cave (Red Bank NJ)
Fifth Course
Coriander-Lime Panna Cotta
Confit Lime, Vanilla Crumble

Kimerud Gin Dinner
Date: Wednesday, March 27
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost per person: $70 +tip/tax
Members of USBG (United States Bartenders Guild) will receive a 15% discount.
Call Corinne Miller, Bar Manager, Blu Grotto Ristorante for more information or to make your reservation at 732-740-5918
Reserve today!
Blu Grotto Restaurant  |  200 Port au Peck Avenue  |  Oceanport, NJ 07757


Prosecco puts a spring in your step for National Bubble Week

The second full week of March is National Bubble Week, and although it more than likely refers to bubbles of the soapy kind, there’s no reason to salute the week with a few bubbles of your own in the form of Prosecco—a light and delightful sparkling wine.

Sparkling wine options were largely ‘cheap or pricey’ before Prosecco came on the scene in the nineties, it provided the best of both worldsa way to trade up by a few dollars for a better wine without springing for French Champagne. Its refreshingly low alcohol and pleasing whisper of natural sweetness were crowd-pleasing qualities that made it a hit with wine novices and occasion-only drinkers, making it a perfect choice for parties and celebrations.

Prosecco’s quality and price varies greatly according to where it is grown, how large the production per hectare or acre is and what happens to it in the winery. With a few rare exceptions, it is made by the charmat or bulk method, rather than fermented in the bottle as Champagne and many other sparkling wines are. The amount of time it spends on the lees—the layer of flecks of grape pulp and spent yeast cells that fall to the bottom of the tank—can make it crisp and fresh or rich and rounded.  

One perennial favorite is Lamberti Prosecco, a perfect apéritif for spring and summer (well, any time actually). It is ripe with notes of apricot skin, peach blossom and a slightly floral component without being overly fruity or off-dry. It is a perfect palate cleanser or refreshing glass any time  due to its easy-drinking personality and effervescences. It is also delicious with lighter dishes such as fruits, salads and shellfish which are particularly pleasing in warmer seasons.

Lamberti Prosecco has fruit  sourced from the best hillside vineyards across Treviso in the Veneto. Glera grapes are harvested slightly before full maturation to preserve acidity. The base wine is re-fermented in enclosed pressure tanks for the “prise de mousse,” utilizing the Charmat method for secondary fermentation, a method best suited to enhance the Prosecco grape’s aromatic qualities.

Lamberti’s appeal is not just in its  balanced, aromatic, crisp style defined by green apples, flowers and sweet spices., but in its price-to-quality ratio.

If you’d prefer something at a lower price point, Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is an authentic sparkling or “frizzante” wine also made from 100% Glera. Spago Nero means “black string” in Italian, so Riondo Spago Nero is named after the bottlle’s original black string closure, which is still featured on some of Riondo’s bottles. Riondo boasts fresh aromas of Golden Delicious apple, pear, and acacia blossom. There is a wonderfully soft and weightless mouthfeel opposed by very stern minerality. The persistent effervescence is followed by a crisp, clean finish. While delicate and fruity on the palate, this prosecco is the perfect choice to either sip by itself or mix to make a bubbly cocktail.

Prosecco is festive and can be the perfect pour at the beach, in someone’s backyard, a BBQ, picnics or by the pool, it’s not as ‘serious’ as Champagne because it has an orchard-fresh fruit character that’s simply friendlier on first sip,which is especially true in the absence of food.

So pop open a tasty Prosecco for National Bubble week and celebrate. I know I will.


March is National Peanut Month: Celebrate with peanut-ty drinks

Americans eat an average of six pounds of peanuts per person, per year, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most of our peanuts come from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina. Almost half of the U.S. peanut crop is used to make peanut butter. Even the shells are useful; they can be found in such products as kitty litter, wallboard, and artificial fireplace logs. Because they are such an American staple, the idea of honoring the lowly peanut began as a special week in 1941 and has been a month-long observance since 1974.  

May we suggest celebrating Peanut Month with a peanutty cocktail?

Castries Peanut Rum Crème Liqueur is a rum-based liqueur (named after the port city capital of the island of St. Lucia) where the main ingredient is roasted peanuts.

St. Lucia is located in the eastern Caribbean south of Martinique and northwest of Barbados — smack in the middle of the rum belt in the tropics with unspoiled beaches, soaring mountains, dense rainforests, and turquoise-blue waters.

Since the 1920s, Castries Peanut Rum Crème has been produced by St. Lucia Distillers. This luscious liquid pours from the bottle in a beautiful creamy nut brown hue. The peanut aromas are unmistakable and amazingly complex; roasted peanuts, peanut brittle, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, notes of vanilla, cinnamon, caramelized brown sugar and freshly grated nutmeg.

At mid-palate, there is the full-bodied expression of sweet dairy cream followed by a simultaneous fade-out of the peanut and fade-in of fine aged rum on the finish. The overall sensation is of richness, smoothness and exquisite balance.

Here are two nostalgic cocktail suggestions to celebrate National Peanut Month: the first being the Castries Peanut Butter Cup, which just so happens to taste amazingly like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and the Fluffy Nutty Martini which  is a peanut and marshmallow combination that reminds one of the icky, sticky joy of that childhood favorite, the Fuffernutter® sandwich only not as messy and with a little higher octane.

Castries Peanut Butter Cup


  • 2 oz. Castries Crème
  • 1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Three Olives Vanilla vodka
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Preparation: Drizzle Hershey’s chocolate syrup in a cocktail glass. Combine the above ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to both chill and mix thoroughly. Strain gently into the glass.


Fluffy Nutty Martini:


  • 2 oz. Castries Peanut Rum Crème Liqueur®
  • 2 oz. Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka®
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts
  • 1/3 cup melted marshmallow crème
  • 1 cup ice

Preparation: Place crushed peanuts in a small plate. Place the marshmallow crème on a small plate  and melt in microwave.
Dip glass rim first in melted fluff, then in the crushed peanuts. Chill in the freezer.
Pour the Castries Peanut Rum Crème and the  Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka into a cocktail shaker with the cup of ice and shake until chilled pour into you cold glass and serve.
Garnish with mini marshmallows and crushed peppermint for a seasonal twist.

Castries Peanut Rum Crème can be found in many local liquor stores.

What is a vegan wine?

As we all know wine is made from grapes. Wine is grape juice combined with a special variety of yeast and allowed to ferment.

But not all wines are vegan or even vegetarian-friendly.

The reason that all wines are not vegan or even vegetarian-friendly has to do with a process called ‘fining’ or how the wine is clarified.

For those who don’t know, many winemakers use animal products in the ‘fining’ process. To simplify, freshly fermented wine usually contains small particles of proteins, tannins, tartrates and phenolics—these are all naturally occurring substances and  and in no way harmful. They are removed because consumers like to drink smooth, clean wine. Most wines, if left long enough, will self-stabilize and self-fine.

Historically, to speed up the process, winemakers have used animal ingredients as ‘fining agents’ to capture sediment such as casein (animal milk protein), albumin (egg whites), isinglass (fish bladder), and gelatin (collagen from animal bones or boiled cow or pig body parts). Fining with casein and albumin is usually acceptable by most vegetarians but all four are off limits for vegans because tiny traces of the fining agent may be absorbed into the wine during the fining process

Fining agents help remove these haze-inducing molecules by acting like a magnet – attracting the molecules around it. They coagulate around the fining agent, creating fewer but larger particles, which can then be more easily removed or strained out. These fining agents are  not additives to the wine, as they are precipitated out along with the haze molecules.

Fortunately, more and more vineyards are starting to use cruelty-free substances like bentonite (clay-based) which is particularly efficient at ‘fining’ out unwanted proteins and activated charcoal is another vegan and vegetarian-friendly agent. An increasing number of wine producers are skipping the fining practice entirely by allowing the wine to self-clarify and self-stabilize. In other words, time to settle before decanting it into bottles. Such wines usually mention on the label ‘not fined and/or not filtered’.

This move to more natural winemaking methods, allowing nature to take its course, means more vegan and vegetarian-friendly wines. However, wine labels typically do not indicate whether the wine is suitable for vegans or vegetarians, or what fining agents were used.

How is a vegan wine drinker to know whether a wine is vegan-friendly or not? It’s not easy.

There is an increasing number of more organic, biodynamic and natural wines available to consumers, and many of these are considered vegetarian or vegan.

One US brand, Bonny Doon Vineyards wines are actually very vegan-friendly. All of their wines  are vegan — they don’t use any animal product fining agents, (isinglass, egg whites or gelatin) in any wine and haven’t since 1985, They do use some bentonite on the whites and pinks.

Other popular vegan-friendly wines include: Charles Shaw (red wines only); Frey Vineyards; Red Truck Wines; Green Truck Wines; Yellowtail (red wines only; not white or rosé); Lumos Wines.

For a more definitive list of affordable, easy-to-drink vegan wines here is a quick guide to wine brands in the $25 and under category.

KRIS Pinot Grigio. Kris is an affordable Italian white wine favorite that is available at almost every liquor store.

LITTLE BLACK DRESS Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, & Moscato. This budget-friendly company’s white wines are all vegan and a favorite with wine and cheese and Netflix, nights. These wines usually range under $15.

MEIOMI Chardonnay. Meiomi also makes a Rose and a Pinot Noir, but Chardonnay is their only white.

DECOY Sauvignon Blanc. Decoy is a brand under the larger Duckhorn Vineyards (also vegan, but much pricier), and their wines are all vegan.

LES JAMELLES Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnay. The entire Les Jamelles line is vegan—evidently, they were concerned about potential allergen issues with the use of animal products, so they “only use products of vegetable or mineral origin” in the fining process.

BOGLE. Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnay. Bogle is another sustainability-farmed vineyard with wines that can be found at many local liquor stores.

NATURA Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay. Natura is very clear about the fact that they use organically grown grapes and wines ae vegan.

NEWMAN’S OWN Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon. Profits from Newman’s Own go to charity. Only their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are vegan, whereas their other varietals are not.

LAYER CAKE Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay. Layer Cake is a fully vegan label, providing reds, whites, and rosé.

FAT CAT CELLARS Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, & Pinot Noir. The entire Fat Cat line is vegan. Their parent company, the Bronco Wine Company, has numerous vegan wines under their name.

OUR DAILY RED Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Red Blend. This all-organic brand clearly states on their website and bottles that they’re vegan.

GREEN TRUCK Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, & Pinot Noir. These vegan wines are also organic. Every wine they produce is both vegan and organic.

RED TRUCK Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, & Pinot Noir. These vegan wines are owned by the same vineyard as Green Truck. Red Truck wines are vegan but not necessarily organic.

CYCLES GLADIATOR Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Syrah & Pinot Noir.

The Cycles Gladiator line is a fun wine company that was inexpensive and a favorite of our customers.

NATURA Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Carmenere. Natura uses organically grown grapes, and they are very clear about the fact that they’re vegan.

PICKET FENCE Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Top Rail Red. Picket Fence is another wine owned by the Bronco Wine Company, and offers vegan reds & whites.

MICHAEL DAVID WINERY This is one of my favorite fun wineries, with fun names like 6th Sense, Earthquake, Inkblot, Gluttony, Rage, Lust, Freakshow, and my personal favorite, Rapture..

LAYER CAKE Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz, “Sea of Stones” (red blend) and “Primitivo”. Layer Cake is a fully vegan label, providing reds, whites, and rosé..