Hosting isn’t as easy as it used to be, according to Jill Nussinow, author of four books, including “Veggie Queen” and “Vegans Under Pressure.”
She suspects hosts in Wine Country are thinking: “All I wanted to do was have a Labor Day get-together and now 20 different people want food 20 different ways.”
Luckily, there are some simple ways to keep the peace.
For the uninitiated vegan wine is made without using any animal products. Fish bladders, for example, are sometimes used in non-vegan wines for fining bottlings, a final stage of winemaking to rid wines of cloudiness and stray particles.
Nussinow said the quick communiques of email can make hosting a bit easier. The host can shoot an email off to those invited asking if they have any food or wine requests.
Simple ways to include carnivors, vegans and everyone in-between would be to have a few vegan wines on hand, and include veggie and Portobello burgers, as well as some side dishes made without animal products.
Of course, Nussinow said, the big thing is to keep perspective and have fun.
“What people forget is that a gathering is supposed to be a nice time … it’s not supposed to be an argument over what’s right about what people eat,” she said.
For those who want to be a politically correct host, here are some vegan wines to include in your line-up:
Alexander Valley Vineyards, 2014 Sonoma County Merlot, 14%, $20. Vegan. This is a smart buy for the budget-minded. It has notes of cherry, plum, herbs and spice. A seamless merlot that will pair well with meat and veggie burgers.
Alban Vineyard Patrina, 2013 Alban Estate Syrah, 15.5%, $43. Vegan. A meaty syrah that stands up to the rich flavors in a meat or a Portobello burger. Notes of white pepper and bacon. Lovely.
Thumbprint Cellars, 2013 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir, 15.2%, $60. Vegan. This pinot has tasty red fruit – wild strawberry and cherry – bright acid and a hint of toffee. Firm tannins. Nice length. It’s a good vegan option because it marries well with a veggie or Portobello burger.