Is your red wine Vegan?
Most people don’t know that fact, but although it is made from grapes, red wine is very often made using products that originate from animals. So, “Is my red wine Vegan?” turns out to be, indeed, a valid question to ask yourself.
Many steps are involved in winemaking. The process we are interested in is called fining. Fining involves having the liquid filtered through “fining agents“.
The term fining generally refers to a process used to increase shelf life of beverages. Fining agents are used for the removal of chemical and biological haze such as proteins and yeasts, or other suspended matter from the beverage. Interesting fact: the agents used for the wine industry are almost identical as the ones used in the fruit juice sector.
Popular fining agents include blood and bone marrow, casein (a protein found in milk), chitin (crustacean shells fiber), egg whites, fish oil, gelatine, and isinglass (gelatine made from swim bladders of various species of large fish).
But all is not lost!
Thankfully, there are more and more fining agents that are animal-friendly and used to make vegan wine. Carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques are all suitable alternatives. An article published in the Wine Industry talks about how Eaton is promoting the use of vegan fining agents.
Here is an excerpt from the article cited above:
“Today’s consumers want alternatives to gelatin fining. We are pleased to offer one that is free from GMO’s [genetically modified organisms] and allergens, and that is Vegan. It also agrees with halal and kosher alimentation restrictions.” –Dr Ilona Schneider, enologist working with the beverage treatment, research and development team at Eaton (Their filtration division).
Furthermore, a wonderful tool to use if you wish to confirm the “Veganity” of your wine exists at Barnivore.com. Next time you ask yourself: “Is my red wine Vegan?”, you’ll have the tools to find out.