Is Wine Vegan?
Well, wine is a very popular beverage and you would think it’s seemingly vegan, right?
Just made from grapes, right?
Wine is actually made from fermented grapes, and the contents of wine isn’t what makes it non vegan. The reason why wine isn’t vegan has to do with how the wine is clarified, which is called the “fining” process.
When wine is made, all the young wines are hazy and have small molecules like proteins, tannins, etc. These molecules are all natural and not harmful at all, but because people want wine to be clear and bright, these molecules need to be filtered out.
If a wine is left to sit long enough, it will self-fine and stabilize itself, so it won’t have to go through the fining process.
However, many manufactures can’t wait that long, so they have to use fining agents to help the process. Fining agents remove the molecules by acting as a magnet. It attracts all of the molecules around it, and then the particles coagulate around the fining agent, where the tiny molecules all turn into a few large molecules, which are now very easy to see and remove.
The reason why most wine isn’t vegan is because the most common fining agents are casein (a protein found in milk) albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal remnants such as bones, hooves, skins, etc), and isinglass (fish bladder protein).
These fining agents are not added to the wine, because they are removed once the particles are removed, but all of the wine still came into contact with it.
The good news it that many winemakers are now changing the way they filter out the particles! Many of them now use clay based fining agents such as bentonite clay, which is great for removing the molecules. Activated charcoal is another fining agent that is used.
Before buying wine, make sure to research the company and how it’s made to see what type of fining agent they used. If you can’t find anything on the website, don’t hesitate to email the company to find out!
Normally wines that are natural and organic are more likely to be vegan as well.