Is wine vegan? Is it not? I think it depends on the vegan. Here’s the deal.
Some wine is clarified through a process called “fining” this occurs when a “fining agent” is added to a vat of ready-to-bottle wine to remove sediment. It might have some dead yeast (lees) in it, or perhaps some sediment from maturing, or haze from the fermentation process.
Have you heard of consommé? It’s a perfectly clear and fat-free soup. You add egg whites and lean protein and tomatoes to the broth and it creates this net that attracts any impurities and fat on top of the net. You then strain out the soup but leave the gross stuff behind, and it’s perfectly clear and glossy.
Fining uses a similar idea but instead of all the grossness, just egg whites are used. This is not the only fining agent out there – many wineries these days are using others that are vegan (non-animal byproducts). The egg white thing takes a lot of work to get cracking, if you know what I mean.
So, once the egg whites, or fining agent of choice, is added, it attracts any impurities in the wine and the wine is then filtered out, leaving the fining agent and the impurities it formed behind. According to research I’ve done, there is no way that the egg whites are able to stay in the wine due to the filtration process. So are you ingesting egg whites? No, definitely not. However, have egg whites technically touched your wine? Well, yes?
So – if you’re vegan because you simply don’t like to eat animal products, then this may not bother you. If you are vegan because you don’t think animal products should be used for anything other than living and breathing and not dying for use in food or human goods, this may bother you.
Again – not all wines are fined, and not all fined wines are fines with egg whites. So do your research, or ask me about it personally and I’ll see what I can find for you.
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