Vegan Friendly Wine
Vegan Wines: The New Niche in Winemaking
Most people open up a bottle of wine and savour the aroma before allowing it to dance upon their palate. For vegans though, labels are carefully read before drinking the fermented grape beverage found within. That’s because the process of winemaking isn’t completely free of animal products. If that phrase – suitable for vegetarians – made you stop short a moment, I don’t blame you. If that took you by surprise, imagine how vegans felt to discover that something made from a perfectly bred varietal of grape contained something they didn’t want any part of. Even meat-eaters seem shocked by this discovery, for wine surely doesn’t taste meaty.
After all, apart from tasting notes, what does a product that is supposed to be no more than fermented grape juice have to do with animal products? It all happens at the end of the winemaking process.
The wineries utilise a process called fining that enables wine becomes transparent (not cloudy) and prevents it from developing rather unpleasant fragrances and flavours whilst trapped inside the bottle before being opened. This fining process uses fining agents to make this happen, and unfortunately, those agents are animal-derived products. Bull’s blood was a traditional fining agent but the EU banned it. Despite this though, other animal products are used in the fining process from gelatin to milk protein, even fish bladders and egg whites.
That doesn’t sound so appetizing, even to the carnivores. Adding to the complications of this situation is that winemakers are not obligated to mention this on their labels. So if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you won’t be able to tell if the bottle you want to order at your favorite restaurant or buy in your local wine shop has been fined with animal-based products.