27 Dec Vegan Wine
This time of year I always crave big delicious glasses of wine. Let’s just say it definitely helps put me in a more festive mood. However, this isn’t always as easy to make happen as you would think. The reason being I am not a big fan of some of the techniques that most vintners use to clarify or ‘fine’ their wines. Many of these products are traditionally derived from animals. Products such as gelatin (made from pig, cow, and horse bones), isinglass (from fish bladders), and a protein from milk called caseins are widely used to remove yeasts, proteins, and other items naturally occurring in the wine before it is bottled. Although there may be barely a trace amount of these products left in the wine itself it still troubles me to know that there are other methods of fining wine that do not use animal based products that just aren’t being used as often. The animal-free alternatives include natural mineral based agents, such as bentonite, a natural clay powder and Sparkaloid, a diatomaceous earth.
Since wine manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients on their products and are more obviously not required to list the processes for which the wine is filtered it can be challenging to find the ones that are 100% free of animal by-products. Fortunately, with just a little mindfulness and extra effort, finding vegan friendly wine is possible. I am finding that the trend for such wines now is to actually put ‘vegan friendly’ on the label. Most supermarkets also seem to have a good idea of which brands these are or at least where to look. Some of the options may not be so obvious and one of the most extensive on-line guides that I have found is www.barnivore.com. Another is http://vegans.frommars.org/wine/. If all else fails contacting the winery or company directly about their fining process is a great way to get the answer.
Here’s to the growing number of vintners who are helping me on my way to vegan friendly vino consumption! Cheers!
~ Dominee Cagle, Spa Director, PDX