Is all wine vegan?
You may think that wine is pure and simple... made from, just grapes! So how can there be any relation to animal products in the process of winemaking?
Let’s talk fining agents.
The process of fining is often carried out on wines to clarify them and remove the tiny particles of sediment that cannot be removed by filtration. These agents stick to these particles so that they become large enough to then filter out. This is often done by winemakers to give you that crystal clear juice that consumers often expect and desire from their bottle of wine.
Popular agents that are often used include -
- Albumen (egg-whites)
- Isinglass (from fish bladders)
- Casein (milk protein)
However, with the popularity of a vegan lifestyle many producers are now choosing other substances. Some alternatives that do not include animal products that are often used -
- Bentonite (form of clay)
- Pea Protein
- Silica Gel
- Activated Charcoal
Winemakers could also choose other techniques like the settling method instead though this takes time. This is where they leave the wine in the tank after fermentation so that the sediment can settle and fall to the bottom. The juice can then be racked off and the sediment is then left in the tank.
Some wines are now on the sediment heavy side also with natural producers choosing to leave their wines unfiltered and unfined making them accidently vegan!
With no set regulations on the fining ingredients used in vinification it can be difficult to tell if a wine is vegan friendly. So how can you be sure? Well until ingredients list rules come into play our best advice is to ask your wine retailer. Often when buying in store and online wines will have tags letting you know if they are suitable for a vegan lifestyle. Natural wines are also a great route and will often say in the winemaking notes that they have been left unfined and unfiltered.