How can that be, isn’t wine made from grapes? Yes, wine is made from grapes that are picked and squeezed into grape juice. Yeasts, either natural or selected, transform the sugars into alcohol during the fermentation process and the juice becomes wine. So far, all this seems vegan-friendly.
During the winemaking process the liquid is filtered through substances called “fining agents”. This process is used to remove protein, yeast and other organic particles that may be detrimental to its flavour, texture, colour or appearance. These particles are all natural and in no way harmful, however most wine drinkers call for wines that are clear and bright.
Most wine producers use animal-derived products as clarifying agents. Essentially the fining agents act like magnets attracting the molecules around it. They coagulate around the fining agent becoming larger particles which can be more easily removed.
Traditionally the most commonly used fining agents were casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). Casein and albumin may be acceptable by vegetarians but absolutely not for vegans.
These animal-derived agents can be substituted with mineral products, clay-based fining agents such as bentonite as well as activated charcoal, all efficient at fining out unwanted substances.
In Sicily more and more wineries are focusing on organic, biodynamic and natural wines as well as vegeterian and vegan-friendly winemaking processes. The question may be: “How can we tell if a wine is vegan?” Winemakers that produce vegan wines are checked and controlled by certification entities before being authorised to use the vegan-friendly logos on their labels.
Try our Vegan-friendly Punto 8 Grillo!