What are Vegetarian and Vegan friendly Wines?

How can a product made from plants not be suitable for Vegans?

Well it’s all about the final filtration and how the winery allows the wine to clear and drop bright with the use of “finings” to “fine” the wine. Without assistance wine may have to rest in vats for months before clearing the small particles of wine pulp and dead yeast. Most white wine is best drunk young so commercial reality clicks in. Cloudy wine, red or white, is not easy on the eye, so using a substance to speed the clearing process up makes sense. The finings do not remain in the wine as they are filtered out along with the particles they clung to as they fell through the vat of wine.

Many finings are made from animal-based production. If they are animal based clearly the wine will not be suitable for Vegans. However, some are carbon or clay based such as Bentonite. Wines fined with Bentonite, Carbon or synthetic finings are Vegan friendly. Vegetarians are permitted dairy products so the fining casein which is milk based is suitable.

wine grapes
glasses of wine on a barrel
red wine
wine cellar

Types of finings to explain the labelling.

  • Casein, which is a milk protein (suitable for Vegetarians)
  • Albumin, which is found in egg whites (non-Vegan, non-Vegetarian)
  • Gelatine, a type of animal protein from bone or hooves (non-Vegan, non-Vegetarian)
  • Isinglass, a fish bladder protein (non-Vegan, non-Vegetarian)
  • Bentonite, clay based (suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians)
  • Carbon (suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians)
  • Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP) a synthetic fining (suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians)

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