You know, some time you just need to pour a glass of wine after a long day at work or chasing after the kids to unwind… Now you are a vegan or simply have some allergies that requires you to pay more attention to your glass of vino, you want to know what’s in your glass. What are you ingesting besides fermented crushed grape juice. It could be a gluten concern, a diet limitations (no dairy, shellfish, meat, etc..) How do you know which one is suitable?
Fact: no all wines are vegan.
Wait what?! but wine is made of crushed fermented grapes, a fruit, right? yes, but….
There is more to the wine making process. Let me share my limited and humble knowledge with you.
In simple words, wine is crushed grapes juice with special yeast to allow fermentation.
To put it plainly, the fermentation process begin after the grapes have been sorted, washed, and crushed , and then put into some sort barrel. That’s where the alcoholization process begins.
During that process, yeast transforms sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide.( co2)
How long does the process of fermentation take?
Primary fermentation takes from three to five days. That’s when 70 percent of the alcohol is produced. Secondary fermentation on the other hand, takes up to two weeks with only thirty percent of the alcohol production.
Some modern wine makers use animal products or byproducts to speed of the process of sedimentation.
It’s a business. The sooner you get your product on the market, the sooner you will sell for a profit. ( or not)
The process of adding animal products or other type ingredients is called “Fining”. Fining is the process of adding additives to clarify wine or beers.
These animals by products attract impurities, bind them and then get filtered out. You don’t see these products on the labels normally or rarely because they are not part of the final product. Since there is no guarantee all of these products being completely out, it’s safer to find vegan wines options.
Naturally, the wine making process is slow. The fining process also allows wine makers to correct flavors, colors, smooth tannins. It’s usually done when the wine hasn’t clarified naturally overtime.
Those animal derived products are:
What does some of these products do?
Gelatin is animal boiled skin and bones. For example, cattle skins, horns, and pork skin.
Albumin is the protein found in egg white, milk, and blood serum.
Isinglass, fish bladder is used for color correction.
Chitosan, crustacean shells, is used to remove phenols from wine and clarify the color.
Casein, the protein found in milk, is used to clarify and remove oxidative taints.
If these ingredients are not labelled on the wine, how do you know which one is vegan or not?
You know the saying: You won’t know until you ask. Yes, ask the merchants. Read the labels when applicable.
Here is a list of some popular vegan wine brands:
- Charles Shaw (red wines only)
- Frey Vineyards
- Lumos Wine
- Red Truck Wines
- The vegan wine
- Yellowtail (red wines only)- Check your local liquor store and local grocery!
A few vegan meals ideas to go with you next bottle of vino: