Vegan & Vegetarian Wines
Yes, wine is made from grapes, but that does not necessarily make wine vegetarian or vegan. Most conventional winemaking methods make use of animal-derived products, which is why an increasing number of producers are now focusing on producing vegan and/or vegetarian wines. The pressing and fermentation process naturally leaves behind sediment (bits of seeds, skin, pulp and yeast cells, called lees). In order to produce a clear wine, producers use a variety of “fining” techniques to clarify the wine before bottling. Animal products have historically and are often used to do this, the most common of which are egg whites, milk protein, gelatin or isinglass (fish bladder). They bind to the unwanted particles, dragging them to the bottom of the vessel where they are then removed, so none of the fining agents remain in the finished wine. However, today we have a handful of products to achieve these results without the use of animals products, notably bentonite (clay) and finely ground vegetable powders.
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