You may be shocked to learn that not all wine is vegan (!!) This isn’t because of what’s inside (grapes), but rather how it’s clarified.
Clarifying, or fining, a wine happens at the last stage in the winemaking process and removes hazy particles and tiny molecules, such as proteins, tartrates, tannins, and phenolics. These materials are all natural and in no way harmful, however, modern wine-drinkers aren’t used to seeing these in their bottles!
Traditional fining agents include casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein); note that these materials do not stay in the final wine, but are precipitated out along with the haze molecules.
Thankfully for vegans out there, more wineries are leaning into alternative fining agents, such as bentonite and activated charcoal. Additionally, as natural wine and minimal-intervention wines gain popularity, winemakers may forgo this process. Look for “not fined” or “not filtered” or “vegan” on the label -- or simply shop below to know you’re drinking vegan!