Despite being plant-based, surprisingly, not all wines on the market are actually made for those following a strict vegan diet. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products. Demand for vegan products has been growing over the last several years, and the demand for vegan wine is no exception. You would think a drink made of fermented grape juice would fall under that category, but in fact a lot of times it does not. However, Montaluce estate wines are moving toward a vegan winemaking process.
During winemaking, fining agents are sometimes used to clarify the wine by removing sediment, bitterness, or impurities. Traditional fining agents include substances like casein (milk protein), egg whites, gelatin (animal protein), and isinglass (fish bladder). These agents help to remove solids and unwanted substances from the wine.
Here at Montaluce, we are working away from using this type of fining agent. Our winemaker, Jake Achorn is following more old-world techniques of no fining or filtration. Instead, the primary goal is to have just fermented grapes in a bottle. We currently have some vegan wine on our shelves, Pinot Noir Rose, Pinot Grigio, and all of our estate reds out right now are vegan. And our goal is that 100% of our new releases from this point are certified vegan.
Like us, not all winemakers use animal-derived components, and many wineries are now adopting vegan-friendly practices. To cater to the growing demand for vegan wines, winemakers have started utilizing alternative fining agents like bentonite (a type of clay), activated charcoal, or vegetable-based proteins (pea and potato), or just adding nothing, making their wines suitable for vegans.
Before you head to the store looking to purchase organic and biodynamic wines, note they might not fall under the vegan category either. The wines carrying this label are produced to avoid synthetic chemicals and promote environmental sustainability. However, some may still use animal-derived products as fining agents or in other winemaking processes, which can make it non-vegan.