Wine is vegan...or not?
Author: Jack Grey
Veganism and Wine
Nowadays, we have a range of diets. These can impact our buying choices, for example, when food shopping, and the same can be said for the types of wines that are open to us. In this entry we will look into Veganism and Wine, focussing on what it is that can make a wine vegan friendly, or alternatively, not so. Before we begin in earnest, and to alleviate any concerns, you will be delighted to know that there are wine options for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!
Fining in Winemaking
So what is it that might make a wine non-vegan friendly? Isn't it wine just made with grapes? In order to understand this fully it is necessary to look into the wine making process itself. We will be focussing on one part in particular, which you may have heard of, called Fining. This is simply a technique by which winemakers can clarify and stabilise their wines using fining agents. It is a method which is used to get rid of any substances or materials that are not wanted in the finished product, and it is this process that can sometimes make a wine not acceptable to vegan or vegetarian consumers.
So how does fining work? The process itself is quite simple: a fining agent is put into the wine to bind with any unwanted substances or materials and these can then be filtered out. There are a number of fining agents that are available to winemakers, which we will now explore.
Fining Agent Options
The problem for vegan or vegetarian diets occurs due to some of the fining agents that are used in this process. This section contains some of the choices available to winemakers, and you will quickly be able to see where the issues can arise.
First on our list, we have:
- Egg Whites
- Milk Protein
- Isinglass (this is protein from fish bladders)
- Gelatin (extracted from beef skin)
The use of these products means that those with certain diets cannot consume these wines. For example, the four that have been listed are not acceptable for vegan wines, although vegetarian wines could be fined with egg whites or milk protein.
Fining vegan wines
Do not panic, however! There are other options. A key one, for winemakers, is Bentonite. This is a mineral clay-based substance which can be used as a fining agent, and, it is vegan friendly.
But even most importantly, bentonite is a high quality fining again, that will leave no residues in wine and, therefore, it's the best choice of many winemakers, even when they're not interested in producing wines that are certified vegan or vegetarian friendly.
Finally, many wines and unfiltered and unfined and, as a consequence, don't involve the use of any fining agents.
Stanlake Park wines are vegan friendly
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this entry, and that it has improved your understanding of how a wine might or might not be vegan. For our loyal customers out there, and anyone who is interested in us, you will be pleased to know that all of Stanlake Park wines are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, as our winemaker prefers to use Bentonite when fining the wines, so feel free to keep tasting!