We know that you love your vegan food, but did you know that your beer or wine may not be vegan? Chances are, they are not. Do you know why? Well, I was wondering the same thing, and here is what I have learned.
Wine can be left to settle by itself if given a few months. However, winemakers often choose to filter out yeasts, proteins, excessive tannins, and any other debris or particles in the wine that can appear cloudy and hinder its smoothness and taste. In order to do this, “fining agents” are used. These agents serve to stick to the unwanted debris, forming clumps that can readily be removed by filtration.
This is where the non-vegan part comes in. The fining agents can be composed of animal products. According to PETA, fining agents can include blood, bone marrow, casein, chitin, egg albumen, fish oil, gelatin, and isinglass (collagen derived from fish bladders). Small amounts of these products may even remain in the wine afterwards.
Winemakers are not required to label their wine as vegan or non-vegan. However, companies will usually mention that their wine has been fined/filtered to appear more appealing.
Vegan Wines Are Either Not Fined, or Fined with Non-Animal Products
Examples of non-animal based fining agents include the use of carbon and clay.
PETA gives a list of companies that sell vegan wine, so make sure to check the list, or call the winemakers themselves to ask.
What about beer? Is your beer vegan? Or does it contain a bit of the fish bladder residue that was used to fine the beer?
Isinglass is a collagen derived from desiccated swim bladders of fish, a byproduct of the fishing industry. Particulates, yeast and other debris left after brewing the beer are removed by fining the beer with isinglass. Again, if left to its own devices, the beer will fine on its own, with the debris gathering and sinking to the bottom after a few months. Fining the beer greatly speeds up the process. Traces of isinglass may remain in the beer.
So now you know what to look for when choosing a wine or beer that won’t compromise your lifestyle and principles.
Did you know that the “fibers and vegetal oils” left over from the winemaking process can be used to make leather? It is sustainable, socially conscious and respectful towards the environment. Check it out here! This is in addition to the leathers which are being made from kombucha, pineapple, mushroom, or soybeans. How exciting!