What is wine made of?
Every wine is made from grapes. Those grapes are getting pressed to get out the juice. Then the fermentation process starts. Essentially, this process turns the grape juice sugars into alcohol. So far, this all seems to be vegan-friendly.
Is wine vegan?
The short answer is no. Wine is not always vegan. To understand why wine is not always vegan, we’ll have to take a closer look at what happens after the fermentation process.
Why is wine not vegan?
During the winemaking process, the liquid is filtered through substances called “fining agents”. Winemakers use this process to remove protein, yeast, cloudiness, “off” flavors and colorings, and other organic particles.
Those “fining agents” are often made from animal-derived products, such as blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes).
Therefore, if a winemaker uses “fining agents” made from those animal-derived products, the wine is not vegan nor vegetarian.
How to find vegan wine?
The good news is that there are also animal-friendly “fining agents”.
Those animal-friendly “fining agents” are:
- Bentonite clay
- Kaolin clay
- Plant casein
- Silica gel
- Vegetable plaques
Your best bet is to go to your local organic or health food store to find vegan wine. Look out for organic winemakers or check the label of the wine.
An extensive list of vegan wines is available at Barnivore.com.