Isn’t every wine vegan?
We are often confronted with this question because consumers assume that wine is basically a vegan product.
However, wine is not always vegan, as it is mostly clarified with gelatin (often obtained from pork bones) or fish components (such as fish bladders). Wine can also be found with casein (milk protein) or albumin (consisting of eggs or milk). The same is true for clear fruit juices and vinegar, which are often clarified with gelatin.
Why is there a need for fining and clarifying agents at all?
Since wine (and juices) is a natural product, lees settle in the grape must after production. The amount of lees differs depending on the grape variety and affects the quality of the wine.
In order to maintain consistent quality, many producers try to filter out the turbidity. Thus, fining agents help to stabilize the wine, but are also used for harmonization. If the wine has too much tannin, it can also be harmonized during fining.
The following are the three animal products most commonly used in wine production.
Liquid gelatin, usually made from pig/bovine bones or skin, is used in flotation. This means that the grape must is foamed with gelatin and nitrogen, the foam with the lees settles on the surface of the grape must and one can draw off the clear juice underneath to bring it to fermentation afterwards.
Hausen bubble (fish bubble)
Another fining agent often used in white wine is the dried fish bladder from fish species such as Hausen, sturgeon or catfish, which is mainly used in sedimentation. By adding fish bladder, the lees are bound, sink to the bottom and the clear grape must can be drawn off from the top after about 8-10 hours.
Casein is a protein preparation obtained from skim milk and used in red wine production to harmonize tannins.
We do not use animal fining agents to clarify and harmonize our wines, instead we rely on purely vegetable alternatives such as pea protein. This is available in liquid and solid form and can be used accordingly for both flotation and sedimentation.
To give you an insight, here is an excerpt from the product description of one of our plant-based wine fining agents:
A-2061 Obritz 323
Tel.: +43 (0)676 9664841
Fax: +43 (0)2943 2660