Once our wines are blended, we use a clay-based fining agent called Bentonite, which is particularly effective at removing unwanted proteins.
Why Not All Wines Are Vegan (or Even Vegetarian)?
As we all know, wine is made from grapes. Essentially, wine is fermented grape juice. Yeasts, natural or cultured, convert the sugars from grape juice into alcohol. So far, this all seems to be vegan-friendly.
The reason not all wines are vegan or even vegetarian has to do with how the wine is clarified and a process called “fining.” All young wines are hazy and contain tiny molecules such as proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenols. These are all natural and not harmful in any way. However, consumers like their wines to be bright and clear.
Traditionally, the most commonly used fining agents were casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein), and isinglass (protein from fish bladder). These clarifiers are called processing aids. They are not additives to the wine, as they are precipitated along with the haze molecules.
Fining with casein and albumin is usually acceptable to most vegetarians, but all four are off limits to vegans because tiny traces of the fining agent can be absorbed into the wine during clarification.