Natural Merchants imports vegan wines from throughout Europe which are designated as certified organic, or made with organically grown grapes. All of our winery partners are committed to using no animal byproducts in production, utilizing only Bentonite clay, a naturally occurring mineral, or vegetable protein as fining and clarifying agents.
Fining agents are used to improve the clarity of a wine by removing the protein, yeast particles, cloudiness, off flavors and reduce the organic particles or sediment. The fining agents added to the wine attract unwanted particles, then become heavy and settle at the bottom as sediment. The clear wine is then siphoned off the top. For many winemakers, it is the final step in giving the wine a beautiful, polished finish.
Animal Byproducts Used in Conventional, Non Vegan Wines
Fining agents are extracted from many sources and elements you may never think of as being added to wine. Popular animal-derived fining agents used in the production of conventional wine include blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes).
From the Winerist in their article about Discovering Vegan Wine: “The problem is that these animal-based products are not used only to filter the wine and then thrown away, but small quantities might get absorbed into the wine as well, making wine unsuitable for vegans.”
All Natural Merchants wineries use only bentonite, a natural earth clay, or vegetable protein for fining and clarification. Those who have chosen vegan lifestyles can feel comfortable in consuming our entire portfolio of wines. A listing of our wines and other vegan-friendly wines can be found at www.barnivore.com. Gluten-containing fining agents include hydrolyzed wheat gluten isolate, which our wineries also avoid, making all of our wines also 100% gluten free.
Winery partners Cantina Pizzolato and Domaine Gioulis have taken the step to be Certified Vegan by the Vegan Society of the UK, and Pratello by Bioagricert vegan cert, and can display a certified vegan seal on their labels.
Author: Lisa Bell, Natural Merchants