Most of us want a nice clear glass of wine without any obvious ‘bits’ in it (such as grape skins or dead yeast cells). The sediment in wine is a natural byproduct of the wine making process, and it may be removed (clarifying) from the unfinished wine prior to bottling by various methods. One option is racking; the sediment falls to the bottom of the container, before the wine on top is pumped into a different container. Racking removes most of the sediment, but not all of it. Another widely used method for clarifying wine is known as fining, and it’s this process, sometimes used in conjunction with racking, that can make a bottle of wine either suitable for vegans or not.
Fining agents remove the haziness caused by tiny sediment particles suspended in wine. Wine makers can choose from a range of fining agents, which can be made from products of animal or mineral origin. Fining agents of animal origin are generally egg whites, casein (a protein from milk), gelatine or isinglass (from fish bladders) and obviously, these are not acceptable ingredients in a vegan diet. The alternative mineral derived agents are bentonite clay, or activated charcoal from carbon, amongst others. Filtration can also be used, either with or without a fining agent.
Unfortunately, many producers, especially in Europe, don’t label their wines as vegan friendly, so although many wines on the shelves are suitable for vegans, it can be hard to tell which are ok! Fear not, we have done the research for you, and have contacted the producers individually, to ensure that the wines in this category of our website are all suitable for a Vegan diet.