As you may know all of our wines are vegan at the wine keg co, but what is vegan wine? Why isn’t all wine vegan? It’s just made of grape juice right? Well yes, sort of, but here’s the thing…
When you make wine you only need some grapes and some yeast. Crush up the grapes and get the juice and introduce it to some yeast. The yeast eats the sugars in the juice and the by product is a tasty alcohol and juice mix called wine! Yes I know this is an extremely simple explanation, but I’m not a scientist and nor are most people, so this is the best way to explain what I mean simply.
Traditionally the problem for lots of wine makers is that the chemical process of converting yeast into alcohol leaves suspended particles in the wine; it wouldn’t hurt to drink wine like this, the proteins and dead yeast cells are just hanging around in the wine minding their own business.
However, they do make the wine look a bit hazy. Drinkers don’t generally want that because people might think it’s not clean or nice to drink. We tend to want a clear, shiny drink and not one that looks a bit like Grandads old bath water, so the wine maker clarifies the wine.
In lots of instances, the winemaker will introduce a protein into the wine. The reason is that the hazy stuff in the wine (suspended particles) want to bind on or cling, or “flocculate” to the introduced protein. This becomes heavy within the juice and so it slowly drops to the bottom of the tank whereupon the wine maker is left with a clear and shiny wine.
It is the introduced protein that is the difference between whether or not the wine is vegan. Winemakers sometimes use casein a milk derived protein (not vegan), albumen, an egg- based protein (not vegan) or isinglass, derived from the dried swim bladders of fish (definitely not vegan!)
At the wine keg co, we have carefully chosen wines that have been clarified using potato protein and other vegetable protein. This is becoming more and more common so expect to see many more vegan wines available on the market. I hope that helps explain about why some wines are vegan and some are not.