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Awesome Etiquette: What To Do About Non-Vegan Wine

What do you do when you find out something you've served to your vegan friends turns out to not actually be vegan? Do you fuss up or feint ignorance?

Respecting our friends' diet choices is an important and thoughtful thing to do. Sometimes, it can be hard to know what foods and drinks fit into people's diet choices. For example, what happens when something you thought was vegan turns out not to be?

Dear Lizzie and Dan,

I work in the sales division for a winery. In a few weeks I'll be attending an annual conference out of town and staying with some good friends of mine who have kindly allowed me to crash at their home. As a thank you gift for their hospitality I always bring them wine and they seem genuinely delighted to have it. Here's the problem: I recently asked one of the winemakers at my company if our wines are vegan and he replied that there are times when the wine making team may add small amounts of gelatin or processed egg whites to a batch of wine to reduce cloudiness or achieve certain qualities that result in a better product. While this apparently a common winemaking practice and isn't a problem for me, my friends are committed vegans. Yikes! I feel bad and don't know what to do.

Should I own up to my mistake of having served them non-vegan wines in the past or should I just keep my mouth shut now that the damage is done. What course of action do you recommend?

Cheers or in this case maybe not,


The answer:

Absolutely do not continue to bring them wine. You can't ethically and morally continue to do that now that you know the wine isn't vegan.

Clearly they didn't know about this wine making practice or perhaps they weren't sure if your wine was vegan and didn't ask. Since they're such good friends, you might be able to tell them in a straightforward and honest way that you didn't know about the animal products in the wine.

There's so much sourcing of animal products unless someone is careful and meticulous about their general food intake, this type of thing happens and sometimes even people that really pay attention to their food intake make mistakes.

You have the best intentions in your heart and want to help your friends be aware of something that maybe they didn't know before. Go into it with that and your intentions will show clearly. Good for you for wanting to make that jump for them on their behalf.  Maybe you'll be able to find some vegan wine to bring instead! 

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