We often get the question, “are your wines vegan?” And we can confidently say that our Labyrinth wine iswines are vegan. ! We do not use any animal by-products in our wine making process. So, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can enjoy our wines knowing they are veganguilt free. We believe it is very important to know what’s going on in your bottle of wine, especially with dietary restrictions. Here is more information on what makes a vegan wine vegan.
If you think about it, wine is made from grapes and yeast, so it is natural to assume that all wines is all arevegan. Surprisingly, this is not always the case. There are some clarification techniques throughout used in the wine making process that incorporate animal by-products.
Fining is a technique where animal by-products can be introduced to the wine. This is a process of clarification and stabilization that occurs at the end of winemaking. After fermentation, wine contains tiny, minuscule particles that can make the wine appear cloudy. These particles do not affect the taste of the wine however, todays wine drinkers can misinterpret a cloudy wine bottle as flawedflawed, so wine makers strive for that clear and bright wine using the technique of fining. To remove these particles, fining agents are added to the wine. These fining agents bind to (or sequester) the particles which then sink out of solution and can be racked or filtered.
Common fining agents:
Bentonite – a type of clay that is effective in absorbing proteins in wine that can cause a wine to look cloudy. This is an inorganic chemical and is safe for those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Casein and Egg Whites – these have been traditionally used as fining agents and are eventually filtered out of wine. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that trace amounts do not remain.
Insinglass – harvested from bladders of fish, and considered unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Gelatin – made from hides of animals, and yes, is also what makes Jello® unfit for vegans and vegetarians.
Curious as to how we clarify our wines since we don’t ‘fine’ our fine wines? We rack our red and white wines! Racking (or soutirage in French) requires a lot of time to allow the particulates to settle on the bottom of the barrel. After some months, we (okay, Rick) then moves the wine to the next barrel while leaving the sediment behind. Repeat a few times and months later est voilà!, you have a clear wine. Some wine is left behind with the sediment after each racking, so besides being more time consuming, it is less efficient. So you can see why some wineries would use a fining agent.
On the bright side, in the wine making industry, there is a noticeable shift away from the use of animal-based fining agents. Wineries have become more transparent of their wine making processes and allow their customers to know which additives are used in their wines. Thus, making a distinction between vegan-friendly and non-vegan wines easier to make. When you visit our Tasting Room in downtown Ventura or choose to purchase a bottle of Labyrinth wine in a store or at a restaurant you can be assured you are purchasing a vegan wine. Cheers!