November 1st. Happy World Vegan Day!
Why All Wines Are Not Vegan (or Even Vegetarian)
What??..you thought all wine was Vegan Friendly? Well, read on!
The other day I was out and about and met up with beautiful Gap local, Vegetarian and Cafe owner Paula, and be you Vego or not, she and husband Serge dish out the best food and coffee in Brisbane at their Cafe’ The Lodge in our wonderful leafy suburb of The Gap. She had a question for me. Paula had heard that we produced Vegan friendly wines. She thought all wines were Vegan friendly...because...grapes, crush, ferment, bottle!? Paula suggested that I inform more people about this and so what better time than World Vegan Day for a short but sweet lesson on what makes a wine Vegan friendly...read on.....
Wine, as we know is made from grapes. Delicious, plump, wonderful grapes. The grape juice ferments and yeast, being either natural or cultured, converts the juice sugars into alcohol. Seems simple right?..and so far sounds all very vegan friendly.
However, all wines are not vegan or even vegetarian friendly and this has to do with a very important process during Winemaking called ‘fining’. All young wines are cloudy and the process to give clarity to the liquid is called ‘Fining’. The reason for the cloudy appearance is that young wines contain tiny molecules such as proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. These are all produced naturally and are completely harmless. Anyhow!..who wants a cloudy Riesling or Shiraz?..we all like our wines nice and clear..and so the fining process comes into play.
The interesting thing is that most wines if you leave them for long enough will self-stabilise and fine all by themselves. Traditionally producers have used a variety of aids called ‘fining agents’ to help speed up the process. Fining agents help to precipitate out these cloud causing molecules, kind of like a magnet attracting the molecules. As the process goes, the molecules coagulate, which creates less, but larger particles and these can be removed way more easily....fascinating stuff right??
Commonly the most used fining agents are casein which is a milk protein, albumin (egg whites), gelatine (made from animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein....ewwww!) These agents are known as processing aids. They are not additives to the wine as they are precipitated out along with the cloudy molecules.
Fining with egg white and milk protein are fine for most vegetarians but all 4 of these fining agents are a complete no go for Vegans because of the miniscule, yet present traces that can be absorbed into the wine during the process.
Sandergrove Estate Wines are suitable for everyone, including those who follow the Vegan lifestyle. Our red wines are self clarified and the whites are fined using a clay based agent. Happy days!
If you want to know more about our Boutique wines, send us a message, check out more info right here on our website or Book a Tasting!
The Sandergrove Estate Team.