In a world where veganism is gaining traction, it’s essential to understand that the concept goes beyond just what’s on our plates. It extends to every facet of our lives, including the wines we enjoy. While wine is often associated with the simple ingredients of grapes and yeast, there’s more to the story when it comes to ensuring its vegan-friendliness.
In the realm of veganism, we take a holistic view of the journey from a ripened grape to that delightful first sip. Although it’s widely known that fermented grapes themselves don’t contain animal products, the intricate winemaking process may involve animal-derived elements, particularly in the traditional fining process.
But what is this fining process, and why does it matter? In winemaking, fining is the technique used to eliminate unwanted particles from the wine, enhancing its appearance and sensory attributes. It’s a process that contributes to the wine’s clarity, taste, and smell, ensuring it meets the high standards expected by consumers.
Historically, winemakers relied on animal-based fining agents, including gelatine, egg whites, milk protein (casein), and even isinglass (derived from fish bladders). These agents, while removed from the final product, may leave behind trace amounts, making the wine non-vegan.
However, the wine industry has evolved to offer vegan-friendly alternatives to traditional fining agents. These alternatives include Bentonite, a clay formed from volcanic ash in seawater, which effectively absorbs small particles in wine, enhancing its clarity and tone. Pea protein serves as a direct substitute for gelatine, while activated charcoal, growing in popularity among vegans and vegetarians, helps remove unwanted colour without affecting flavour.
Natural fining, a process where wine fines naturally over time due to gravity, allows suspended particles to settle at the bottom, producing clear wine. Some producers prefer this method to preserve the flavour and aroma of phenols, valuable aromatic molecules that can be lost during traditional fining with animal-based agents.
This shift towards vegan-friendly winemaking is part of a broader awareness of the environmental impact of personal choices and lifestyles. As the world strives to reduce its carbon footprint and embrace sustainability, consumers are looking for ethical options in every aspect of life, including the food and drinks they consume.
How can you be sure if your wine is Vegan?
While there isn’t current legislation mandating complete ingredient lists for alcoholic products, some winemakers are voluntarily providing information about their vegan processes and substances used during fining. Look for labels or visit the producer’s website for this information.
In conclusion, vegan wines offer a delightful and sustainable alternative for wine enthusiasts. By choosing vegan wine, you not only savour fantastic flavours but also contribute to a more eco-friendly world. So, toast to vegan wines and the positive impact they make on our planet! If you’re interested in exploring vegan wines, we invite you to discover our extensive range of vegan wines.