Generally wine is processed with egg whites, non-vegan clarifying agent. However, there are some wines that are vegan, and here is what to look for.
Why is Most Wine Not Vegan?
Isn’t wine, after all, just made with grapes?
Most wines are clarified during winemaking with a process called “fining” which most frequently employs the use of animal-based products such as casein (a protein from milk) or egg whites. If wines aren’t fined, most would look hazy. This is where the casein and egg-whites come in. The fining agents “glomb” onto the proteins dissolved in the wine and cause them to precipitate out and collect at the bottom of the tank. The result is a crystal clear wine.
It’s common for quality white, rosé and sparkling wines use isinglass (a fish byproduct) for fining
It’s common for red wines use egg whites or casein for fining to remove bitter-tasting phenolics
Old-world wineries used to use ox-blood to fine wine, but this no longer common today
Fining agents are removed before wine is bottled
How to find vegan wines
Vegan wines are uncommon, but they do exist. Wherever winemakers are practicing minimalist intervention in the cellar, is where you’ll most likely find wines that are unfined and unfiltered. Remember to check with the winery or importer to be sure.
Here are some useful tips on vegan wines:
Wines that are unfined and unfiltered are vegan
Wines filtered only with sterile filters (ceramic filters) or cross-flow filters are vegan. Be sure to check with the producer
Several mass-produced wineries use sterile filters instead of animal products
Some wineries use betonies to fine protein from white wines instead of isinglass
Biodynamic wines can be made in a vegan way when they are unfined but since the farming process uses animal bones (for special compost mixtures) it negates this.
If a wine is organic that doesn’t guarantee its vegan
By Madeline Puckette, Wine Folly