Vegan Friendly Wines
Over the past few years Kacaba Vineyards Staff have been responding to an increasing number of questions about vegan/vegetarian wines from guests. Many of our customers now want to know whether or not a wine is in fact vegetarian, if not truly vegan. Confused? You’re not alone. Many people don’t know that not all wine is vegan or vegetarian-friendly.
But wine is made from grapes and yeast, right? Sounds pretty vegan-friendly, correct? Trouble is, the wine making process doesn’t end after fermentation. For vegetarians (and vegans in particular) the problem lies within the process of clarifying and stabilizing the wine before bottling. This process is referred to as “fining” and can include animal ingredients.
All newly crafted wines are hazy and contain suspended particulates like tartrates and proteins, and as a result they tend to be hazy or cloudy. These molecules stabilize over time, but wine drinkers usually like to buy wines that are clear and bright- so fining agents are used prior to bottling in order to speed up the process. Fining agents attract and bind with these solids and help precipitate them to the bottom of the tank. After the fining process, the clear wine can then be transferred to another tank or oak barrel for the aging process. In traditional winemaking, the most common fining agents used were casein (milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). For many modern vegans/vegetarians, this is something they would prefer to avoid.
At Kacaba Vineyards Winery we recognize this and therefore utilize only bentonite for the fining of all our wines. Bentonite is a type of clay, typically formed from the weathering of volcanic ash. Bentonite clay is special because it has a negative electrostatic charge, meaning it attracts other particles to bond with it, which makes it perfect for fining without animal by-products. By committing to using bentonite clay for the fining process at Kacaba Vineyards, we are able to keep our wines Vegan and Vegetarian friendly.