Vegan Wines – the most natural wine available.
Vegan wines might sound like a strange concept: surely an alcoholic drink made from grapes would be vegan wine. One needs to consider what ingredients can be used to make wine to appreciate the concepts of vegetarian or vegan wines. The full list of additives allowed in wine is huge.
Animal products in wine
There are unfortunately many animal products used to make wine; these can and should be avoided. The main stage when these are used is the fining or clarification process which makes a wine bright and clear in appearance. Gravity can also do this, however fining can speed up the process. Fining agents to particularly watch for include:
Gelatin – made from boiled up animal bones and mainly used in red wines.
Isinglass – A protein obtained from the bladders of various unfortunate fish; used in both red and white wines.
Albumin – Used to remove harsh tannins in red wines. Egg whites are the normal source although please bear in mind that if your wine smells of egg it is likely to be over-sulphured. (See low sulphur wines).
Casein – The principal protein of milk, often used in white wines to remove off colours.
Chitosan – From the shells of shellfish and crustaceans; or more commonly for wine-making, this is from a fungal source.
None of the above products are used when making vegan wine of course. Have a look at our list of allowed additives in wine – no wonder it is not on the bottle labels: it is far too long.
The purest wine is vegan wine.