It was widely reported last week that Bill Clinton has evolved from Omnivore to Vegan. That got me wondering if that means he’s now limiting himself to vegan wine (Here’s an excellent article about vegan wine). Never hear of vegan wine? Neither had I until I saw it last month in a winery’s tasting notes.
In a nutshell, vegan wine is wine that is made using no animal derived products. According to the Vegan Wine Guide:
“Many wines are made using animal-derived ingredients to assist in the processing of the wine. Whilst these ingredients in the main are filtered out of the wine before it is sold, the use of animal ingredients in the creation of the wine makes them unsuitable for consumption by vegans. Typically these ingredients are used as processing aids in the “fining” or filtration part of the winemaking process to help remove solid impurities such as grape skins, stems, pips, to remove the yeast used in the fermentation process or to adjust the tannin levels in certain wines. This is done to end up with a clearer, brighter, better tasting and more presentable wine.”
Animal derived ingredients used as “fining” agents include:
- Albumin, made from egg whites is the most common fining agent. It’s typically used for fining red wine.
- Gelatin is an animal protein made from the skin and connective tissue of cows and pigs. It may be used to fine either red or white wine.
- Isinglass (a.k.a. fish glue) is made from the swim bladders of fish. It’s found in many German white wines.
- Casein and potassium caseinate (milk proteins)
Here are several other things to note about producing vegan wines:
- The fining agents are removed, along with the particles (including bugs!) that make the wine cloudy
- There are naturally derived fining agents available to winemakers including carbon, algae extracts, and bentonite(clay).
- Most white wines are fined
- Albumin, and casein fining agents would be acceptable to vegetarians
- Looking to enjoy vegan wine, but it’s not labeled as such? Look for an “unfined” wine.
- Wineries are not required to disclose on their label which fining agent, if any, is used since it’s removed from the final product.
It’s also worth noting that organic wine and vegan wines are two different concepts. Because a wine is organic, doesn’t mean vegan, and vice-versa.
As for whether or not Bill Clinton also drinks vegan wine? I don’t know, but it gives me a chance to use Bubba and vegan in the same sentence, just for the fun of it!
- Vegan Wine Guide (Vegans Are From Mars)
- Bill Clinton Talks to Sanjay Gupta About His Heart Surgery