With the growth in popularity of all things vegan, we have decided to explain why and how certain wines are vegan and other wines are not. It is completely logical to think that all wine is vegan as it is, after all, a drink made from pressing and fermenting grapes.
It is the production process that turns wine into something that both vegetarians and vegans may wish to avoid and below we try to explain how and why.
Fermentation is the part of the winemaking process where the natural sugars of the grapes are converted into alcohol, so far so good. Once the juice of the grapes is in the fermentation tank the yeast will then grow and this triggers a reaction in the sugar. At this stage molecules may appear in the wine and this can have the effect of making the wine appear hazy. There is nothing wrong with these molecules being in the wine, they are simply a natural by-product of the wine-making process. Many natural wine makers believe in leaving wines in their most natural possible state and avoid the fining process altogether. However, aesthetics is hugely important in the modern world of wine and the best way to do this is by extracting the molecules using the fining agents.
Traditionally, many fining agents used animal products with historically egg whites used for red wines and milk protein for whites. It is also known for isinglass, which is made from fish bladders, to be used but this is used less and less.
Do Some Wines Contain Animal Products?
In a word..…No. Once the fining process is complete the fining agents are removed from the wine. Many wineries are moving towards using clay-based methods and in particular bentonite which is an unusual form of clay and incredibly effective in absorbing certain proteins.
How Do You Tell If A Wine Is Vegan?
Thankfully, more and more wineries whose wines are vegan are putting the vegan logo on their back labels and many are also stating it is vegan on the actual label itself. However, just because a wine doesn’t state it is vegan doesn’t mean it isn’t. Many wineries around the world, particularly in France it seems, do not see the reason or need to state whether it is vegan.