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Before you pop open that bottle of sparking wine and ring in the New Years in a tipsy haze, think about this: Not all wines are vegan. “People are surprised to learn that most wines aren’t vegan-friendly,” says Eileen Crane, winemaker at Domaine Carneros in Napa.
Although wine is derived from grapes, Crane explains, animal-based ingredients are usually introduced into the wine during a process called fining. Here, gelatin, egg whites, isinglass (fish swim bladder), or fish oil, among others, are used to remove grape skins, pips, yeast from the fermentation process, and other impurities in order to render the wine less cloudy, more presentable and tasty.
So how does one make vegan-friendly wine? Crane uses Clarifiant S, or sodium bentonite, a clay-based product with no animal additives in the fining process. Other additives could include limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, or silica gel. For a list of other local and international producers of vegan wines, check out Barnivore’s useful list. Pair with one of your favorite vegan-friendly snacks, and voilà. Vegans, rejoice.
Happy New Years!