With more people becoming vegans every year, many consumers are turning their focus towards wine as an enjoyable beverage without animal products. Is it possible to enjoy a glass without any animal ingredients present?
Wine fining processes involve adding various types of proteins during their fining processes, such as gelatin from cow or pig collagen, isinglass (boiled fish swim bladder), egg white, and skim milk.
Vegan wines can be defined as those that do not use fining agents that contain animal products to filter or clear. As part of the winemaking process, this step can cause cloudiness that detracts from aromas and flavors of wine; vintners use fining agents containing gelatin sourced from bovine or porcine bones, isinglass (fish bladders), egg whites or milk protein to clear it. Although such fining agents are only used in trace amounts compared to the others available on the market today - vegan wines cannot be considered suitable due to this flaw in production.
But some winemakers are taking steps to clarify their wines using non-animal methods, making them vegan-friendly. One such fining agent used is bentonite which can absorb proteins quickly. Other producers use other plant-based fining agents like activated charcoal or pea gelatin - these natural wines.
Veganism is a lifestyle in which food and drinks derived from animals, such as foodstuffs and beverages. Wine can be considered vegan if it does not undergo the fining process which uses animal products such as isinglass (derived from sturgeon fish bladders), gelatin (from cow or pig hooves and sinews) egg whites and casein (milk protein).
These devices are used to remove organic compounds that cause cloudiness in new wines, usually by either evaporation or filtering them from the finished product, leaving only trace amounts behind.
However, many vintners are opting for more natural winemaking techniques that enable their wines to self-clarify and stabilize without chemical intervention. Such wines will typically be labeled 'unfined and unfiltered' with vegan-friendly labels on them.
Winemakers use fining as an effective method for clearing their wines of proteins, tannins, or any other microscopic particles that might compromise clarity or stability during winemaking. At this stage, chemicals or substances are applied that bind these particles so they can easily be filtered out after being treated - traditional fining agents include gelatine and collagen found in animals products as fining agents.
Collagen is a protein extracted by boiling animal skin, tendons, and bones and used as a thickening agent. Gelatine, produced from boiling and grinding animal bones, serves a similar purpose; blood meal powder made by drying and grinding up animal blood may also be found in some glue products.
As the demand for vegan wines continues to increase, more producers are taking note. Unfortunately, due to current regulations around labelling (excluding allergens ), it can still be challenging determining whether a wine is vegan-friendly.
Wine is typically created by fermenting grape juice, however winemakers may use fining agents such as fining agents to stabilize and clarify the liquid. Fining agents come from various sources - gelatin derived from cow or pig collagen, isinglass (fish swim bladder), egg whites or cochineal extract (a red dye made from crushed beetles).
These ingredients are typically added during the final stage of winemaking when an aged and bottled vintage has been assembled. Furthermore, some alcoholic beverages such as beer may also contain animal components in its production process or labeling inks and glues that include animal collagen.
Artisanal and natural wines tend to forego filtering and fining processes, allowing nature to naturally clarify and stabilize their liquid. Producers will usually note "not fined and not filtered" on their labels to indicate vegan-friendliness; additionally, Barnivore provides online resources that document this status of various alcoholic beverages.