Posted by: njbrown | March 18, 2012

Vegan Wines and Organic Wines

Kendall-Jackson Avant

Vegan Wines

In all my years of reading about wines and seeing movies about vineyards, I had never heard that animal products are widely used in wine-making.  Having a vegan daughter has raised my consciousness.  Fortunately, for those who want to eat and drink animal-free products, there is Barnivore – a guide to vegan beer, wine and  liquor .  According to Barnivore:

“Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or

they might use them in the processing and filtration.

When making the product, dairy, honey, and other things (including, in one case, a whole chicken dropped in the tank) are ingredients in the final recipe.

When filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder), gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things. These products grab onto the impurities and make it easier to catch them in the filters, though there are many animal-free alternatives in use.”

My sister in the States is a fan of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay.  It turns out that the Kendall-Jackson whites are vegan (although my sister is not).  I found Kendall-Jackson’s description of their wines on Barnivore interesting:

“Company email (January 2009):
We do not use egg whites or isinglass to fine any of our white wine. We use egg white on occasion (rarely) to filter red wine. Our winemaker says that when you filter, often you are filtering out flavor as well, and so he doesn’t often use this process.”

“Company email (June 2007):
Kendall-Jackson may use one of the following as a fining agent in its red wines:
Egg whites
Sturgeon bladder
These fining agents are used to soften tannins from the seeds and grapes prior to bottling. After the agents react with the wine, they are racked away and there should be no residue left in the final product.
The above-listed fining agents are not used in our white wines, as the grapes are pressed immediately upon arrival and there is minimal contact between the juice, seeds and skins.”

Frogpond Farm Vegan Organic Wine

Not all vegan wines are organic, and not all organic wines are vegan.  In Ontario, the only certified organic winery is Frogpond Farms in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Europe is ahead of North America in organic wines.  ” While “organic wine” in the U.S. is a minor category, it’s about to become big in Europe. The EU has ruled the exact opposite of the US: that “organic wine” can contain sulfites. The EU will restrict the amount of sulfites they may contain: 100 ppm total for red wine, 150 ppm for white or rosé, as opposed to the 10 ppm allowed (and only when naturally occurring) in U.S. “organic wine.” (Conventional wines in the US are allowed 350 ppm.)”   The Organic Wine Company

The bottom line is that there is a wine for everyone these days. Cheers!


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