To any vegan wine lover, it may come as a surprise that their favourite glass of wine has an animal-derived product in it. But isn’t wine made of grapes?
The winemaking process itself doesn’t require any animal products, but in order to reduce the time it takes to age, the liquid needs to be filtered using certain substances known as ‘fining agents’. These agents are used to remove impurities from the wine, and most wineries have been using animal-derived products for the same. Fining helps wine get rid of protein, yeast, cloudiness, and other unwanted particles. There are a number of animal-derived fining agents such as:
1) Gelatin – collagen extracted from animal body parts, commonly from pig. It removes tannins and helps speed up the ageing process
2) Isinglass – A substance derived from fish bladder. It makes wine clearer and is mainly used in white wine
3) Albumin – A substance extracted from eggs that helps in clarifying red wines and removes tannins.
4) Chitin – Fibre derived from crustacean shells
5) Casein – A substance derived from milk that is used in white wines to prevent them from turning pink
Besides the above, there are certain other animal products too that are used in wine processing, including bone marrow, fish oil, etc.
However, all is not lost for Indian vegan wine enthusiasts. There are several wine companies manufacturing 100% vegan wines. They use fining agents such as carbon, certain types of clay, limestone, silica gel, and plant casein. Barnivore.com is a website that can help Indian vegans look for cruelty-free wines. Indian brands such as Sula, Reveilo and The Daily Dose, are vegan-friendly. Mumbaikars can check out vegan wines on thewinepark.com. There are several brands available such as Saint Clair, Brancaia, Mongrana, Vietti, and Kesselstatt. One may also choose from imported wines such as Cooper’s Hawk, Fitzpatrick, Palmina, Vinavanti, Wrights, amongst several others.