When wine is made, the grapes are pressed and the juice is fermented. However, there are also a few more processes involved to get the finished product.
Most of us want a nice clear wine without any obvious ‘bits’ in (such as grape skin or dead yeast cells), so these are removed by various methods, such as racking (which lets the sediment fall to the bottom of the container, then the wine on top is pumped into a different container). Another method for clarifying the wine, which is widely used, is fining - and it is this process which can make the wine either suitable for vegans or not.
Fining agents remove the haziness and any tiny bits of skin etc. that are suspended in the wine. Wine producers can choose from a range of fining agents, but they can be made from products of animal or mineral origin. The ones from animal origin are generally egg whites, casein (a protein from milk), gelatine or isinglass (from fish bladders) and obviously, these would not be acceptable in a vegan diet. There are alternatives which come from mineral sources like bentonite clay, or activated charcoal from carbon, amongst others. Filtration can also be used, either with or without the fining.
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! Fear not, we have done the research for you, and have contacted the producers individually, to ensure that the wines in this category are all suitable for a Vegan diet.